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Richard Henwood

Science Question:
Sunspots are regions of concentrated magnetic flux, the distribution of these magnetic flux tubes can provide additional evidence for solar dynamo theory. In a recent paper by Baumann and Solanki (2005) the authors showed that sunspot sizes were distributed log normally. In the particular dataset used (Greenwich Group Reports 1874-1976), the distribution of the longest lived and largest spots is artificially high due to spot re-occurrence. As the sun rotates with respect to the earth, spots with a long lifetime can be carried out of view over the west limb of the sun and return to view over the east limb. Such spots are recorded as two spots within the dataset. Can we show that confidence in log normal distribution of sunspots is justified by correctly taking into account the re-occurrent spots?