Faculae are hot, bright structures caused by the strong magnetic fields within the Suns photosphere. As with sunspots they tend to occur in clusters (although faculae clusters are smaller than sunspot clusters) known as plages. While sunspots tend to make the Sun look darker, the faculae make it look brighter. At the height of a sunspot cycle the number of faculae increase more than the number of sunspots leading to the Sun giving off slightly more light than usual.

Faculae are easily spotted near the visible edge of the sun, and can be seen extending into the chromosphere across the whole disc when viewed via a spectroheliogram

Information taken from:
http://www.uni-sw.gwdg.de/research/exp_solar/efackeln.html
http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/faculae.html
www.ucar.edu/communications/lasers/sun/faculae.html

Fac"u*lae (?), n. pl. [L., pl. of facula a little torch.] Astron.

Groups of small shining spots on the surface of the sun which are brighter than the other parts of the photosphere. They are generally seen in the neighborhood of the dark spots, and are supposed to be elevated portions of the photosphere.

Newcomb.

 

© Webster 1913.

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