What is the difference between a sunspot and a solar flare?
I had trouble putting this into words, so Dr. Yan Li answered this for me:
“Sunspots are small areas that appear darker than their surrounding solar surface. Sunspot areas have strong magnetic field. Occasionally the strong magnetic field in a sunspot is overly twisted and decides to fire up like ‘fire works’. Those ‘fire works’ are solar flares and they are above sunspots. Sunspots last for a bit shorter than a day to several days. Flares are much shorter and last for a few seconds to a few hours.”