It's quiet time on the sun right now. Our closest star is heading toward solar minimum (a low point for activity during its normal 11-year cycle), but that didn't stop the sun from showing off a spectacular sunspot. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this spot on the move in a video released on Wednesday.
Sunspots appear as dark blotches on the surface of the sun and are cooler than the surrounding area.
While the sunspot on display in the video appears small in comparison with the rest of the sun (NASA describes it as looking like freckles), the dark center area alone is bigger than Earth. The video includes a small dot that shows the size of Earth in relation to the sunspot.
The SDO captured the imagery used in the video between July 5 and 11. "This sunspot is the first to appear after the sun was spotless for two days, and it is the only sunspot group at this moment," NASA notes.