Still have eclipse glasses? See the sunspot 15 times wider than Earth

Sunspot AR3664 visible on the bottom right part of the Earth-facing side of the sun on May 9, 2024. (NASA/ Solar Dynamics Observatory)

Millions of people who went out of their way to find eclipse glasses to see April's stunning solar eclipse can put them to use once again to see an incredibly large feature on the surface of the sun.

Sunspot AR3664 has been growing over the past few days and is roughly 124,000 miles across-more than 15 times wider than the Earth.

A sunspot this large is easy enough to see from Earth; all that is needed is a solar filter or pair of eclipse glasses to protect your eyes from the sun's dangerous rays.

Sunspot AR3664 compared to the Earth on May 9, 2024. (Jason Major)

Despite the name, eclipse glasses can be used to safely look at the sun any day, not just during a solar eclipse. Looking at the sun without a solar filter or eclipse glasses can cause serious eye damage.

Time is running out to see the massive sunspot before it is hidden from view. As the sun rotates, so too do the sunspots on its surface. In a few days, the sunspot will no longer be on the Earth-facing side of the sun.

Because of the timely nature of the event, there may not be enough time to order a new pair of eclipse glasses online and have them delivered before the dark splotch on the sun rotates out of view.

Sunspots are dark areas on the sun's surface that are slightly cooler than other areas. They come in all shapes and sizes and have complex magnetic fields.

"Rapid changes in the magnetic field alignment of sunspot groups' associated active regions are the most likely sources of significant space weather events such as solar flares, CMEs, radiations storms, and radio bursts," NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center explained on its website.

Small sunspots may last only a few days, while larger ones could last for weeks to months.

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