What are sunspots?

Sunspots are dark spots that appear from time to time on the surface of the Sun.

These dark spots are caused by extreme magnetic activity. During this activity the Sun’s magnetic field loops out into space instead of looping back into the Sun.  This is called a coronal mass ejection.

The amount of sunspot activity varies from year to year and appears to be in an eleven-year cycle. The time when there is the most sunspot activity is called the solar maximum and when there is the lowest activity it is called the solar minimum.