|1.||any of the dark cool patches, with a diameter of up to several thousand kilometres, that appear on the surface of the sun and last about a week. They occur in approximately 11-year cycles and possess a strong magnetic field|
|2.||informal a sunny holiday resort|
|3.||(Austral) a small cancerous spot produced by overexposure to the sun|
|sunspot (sŭn'spŏt') Pronunciation Key
Any of the dark, irregular spots that usually appear in groups on the surface of the Sun (its photosphere), lasting from a few days to several weeks or more. Sunspots appear dark because they are cooler, by up to 1,500°K, than the surrounding photosphere. They are associated with strong magnetic fields and solar magnetic storms moving in a vortex pattern, similar to a tornado on Earth. The number of sunspots waxes and wanes over an 11-year period; at maximum activity there are often increased numbers of solar flares.