sun·​spot | \ ˈsən-ˌspät How to pronounce sunspot (audio) \

Definition of sunspot

: any of the dark spots that appear at times on the sun's surface and are usually visible only through a telescope

Examples of sunspot in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Astronomers have been tracking the appearance of sunspots since the time of Galileo, providing a proxy for solar activity stretching back four centuries. Adam Mann, New York Times, "There’s Something Special About the Sun: It’s a Bit Boring," 30 Apr. 2020 And a couple of studies found that racing pigeons were slower to find their way home on days with lots of sunspots. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Strange Influence the Sun Has on Whales," 24 Feb. 2020 The data from Solar Orbiter could help explain the sunspot cycle — Why does the cycle last 11 years? Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "We’ve Never Seen the Sun’s Top or Bottom. Solar Orbiter Will Change That.," 10 Feb. 2020 However, Winkelmann was still widely recognized as an accomplished scientist during her time, and her research and observations on sunspots, Aurora Borealis and comets were met with high regard. Lauren Kent, CNN, "The heroines STEM: Ten women in science you should know," 28 Jan. 2020 Others have suggested more prosaic explanations, involving long-term cycles of variability, sunspots or dust. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "The Further Adventures of Betelgeuse, the Fainting Star," 14 Feb. 2020 Some whale strandings may be due to solar storms and sunspots, a new study suggests. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Solar storms may cause whale strandings, study reports," 26 Feb. 2020 New research shows that healthy gray whales are nearly five times more likely to strand when there is a high prevalence of sunspots, and therefore high levels of radio waves emitted from solar storms. Fox News, "Solar storms might be causing gray whales to get lost," 13 Jan. 2020 Geomagnetic storms are caused by sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, resulting in calamities to which our modern technological society is becoming ever more susceptible. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "New Studies Warn of Cataclysmic Solar Superstorms," 24 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sunspot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sunspot

1676, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of sunspot was in 1676

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Cite this Entry

“Sunspot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce sunspot (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sunspot

astronomy : a dark spot that sometimes appears on the surface of the sun

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sunspot

Spanish Central: Translation of sunspot

Nglish: Translation of sunspot for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sunspot

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