This is a closeup of a large sunspot group. The photo was taken on 19 June 2001 from Belcamp, Maryland. I used my Nikon Coolpix digital camera, my Celestron 8" telescope, and a full aperture Thousand Oaks Optical solar filter. The camera was acting up that day, so I had to extensively manipulate the raw image in Photoshop 5.5 to get this fuzzy black and white view.
Sunspots are disturbances on the surface of the sun. They look black because they are somewhat cooler than the surrounding areas. Sunspots often harbor intense magnetic fields and can unleash powerful solar flares.