NASA recently released 7 years of SDO data compiled into an impressive timelapse video (take a look if you’re into such astro-geekery). Back in the Fall of 2011 when my family and I were on Semester at Sea, I’d captured a pretty good set of sunspots while out on the Atlantic Ocean:
I took a look at the SDO data to see if it would match up, and other than the rotation of the sun being wrong (the data is coming from a spacecraft, where there is no reference for ‘up’), the sunspot pattern matched up perfectly:
Here is the text from the blog post of that day, just for the fun of it:
Another day at sea, and the air has cleared a bit, giving way to clearish skies, perfect for capturing the disc of the sun dipping into the horizon. As a result, please enjoy an image of sunspots, one version straight from the camera, the other viewed showing the mask of a sharpening algorithm, which illustrates quite plainly the locations of them on the surface of the sun. Sunspots can last for days or weeks (I believe), the larger of which can contribute to radio communications interference here on earth. Several years ago I experienced a significant solar radiation event while flying around Denver, and for a few days reaching hospitals on routinely-used VHF frequencies was marginal, at best.