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For the period August 1959–December 1964 the Greenwich Photoheliographic Results were searched for sunspot nests. Such a nest is a sequence of sunspot groups that appear within a small area on the solar surface and that last for several months. The search procedure is described and data for 41 probable sunspot nests are given. At least three quarters of these nests appear to be real, and not chance clusters.
The nests are the same type of activity sequences as the ‘Fleckenherde’ discovered by Becker (1955) and the complexes of activity pointed out by Gaizauskas et al. (1983). The complexes of activity as defined by Bumba and Howard (1965) are different patterns, however; the relation between complexes and the nests is shown.
Some properties of the nests are: (i) many nests appear as double structures; (ii) single nests and components of double nests are quite compact: the effective areas are comparable to those of medium-large sunspot groups; (iii) each nest rotates at its own steady rate about the Sun; (iv) the intrinsic scatter in the rotation rates is much larger than the trend in the differential rotation; (v) displacements in latitude are less than a few meters per second; (vi) many nests live for 6 to 15 Carrington rotation periods, the minimum lifetime is not yet determined; (vii) the fraction of the sunspot groups that are members of nests is large (at least 30%).
KeywordsSmall Area Activity Sequence Search Procedure Solar Surface Sunspot Group
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