Hi, I’m Duncan. We think of the Sun as being bright and hot because we can see sunlight and can feel the warmth of the Sun’s rays. However, the Sun also has a different, almost magical, property. It has a magnetic field. In this section, I will tell you what produces the Sun’s magnetic field and why it is so important.
In a nutshell, magnetism is the key to understanding prominences, fireflies, hot loops, sunspots, coronal heating, the solar wind and just about everything else on the Sun.
Here are two pictures of the Sun. The one on the left is a photograph in visible light - can you see the sunspots? The picture on the right shows the magnetic field on the surface of the Sun. Pink and blue represent negative and positive polarities. Can you see any connection between the sunspots and the magnetic field?
Before we look more closely at the Sun’s magnetic field, it’s worth spending just a few moments looking at what a magnetic field is.