Reading Comprehension 2

1. READ TEXT QUICKLY AND SIGN DIFFICULT WORDS

According to the controversial sunspot theory, great storms or eruptions on the surface of the sun hurl streams of solar particles into space and eventually into the atmosphere of our planet, causing shifts in the weather on the Earth and interference with radio and television communications.

A typical sunspot consists of a dark central umbra, a word derived from the Latin word for shadow, which is surrounded by a lighter penumbra of light and dark threads extending out from the center like the spokes of a wheel. Actually the sunspots are cooler than the rest of the photosphere, which may account for their apparently darker color. Typically, the temperature in a sunspot umbra is about 4000 K, whereas the temperature in a penumbra registers 5500 K, and the granules outside in the spot are 6000 K.

Sunspots range in size from tiny granules to complex structures with areas stretching for billions of square miles. About 5 percent of all sunspots are large enough so that they can be seen from Earth without instruments; consequently, observations of sunspots have been recorded for thousands of years.

Sunspot has been observed in arrangements of one to more than one hundred spots, but they tend to occur in pairs. There is also a marked tendency for the two spots of a pair to have opposite magnetic polarities. Furthermore, the strength of the magnetic field associated with any given sunspot is closely related to the spot’s size. Sunspots have also been observed to occur in cycles, over a period of eleven years. After the beginning of a cycle, the storms occur between 20 and 40 degrees north and south of the equator on the sun. as the cycle continues, some of the storms move closer to the equator. As the cycle diminishes, the number of sunspots decreases to a minimum and they cluster between 5 and 15 degrees north and south latitude.

Although there is no theory that completely explains the nature and function of sunspot, several models show scientist’ attempts to relate the phenomenon to magnetic field lines along the lines of longitude from the north and south poles of the sun.

2. NEW VOCABULARY WITH THEIR MEANING

  • Controversial : causing disagreement or discussion
  • Hurl :  to throw something with a lot of force, usually in an angry or violent way
  • Streams : water that flows naturally along a fixed route formed by achannel cut into rock or ground, usually at ground level
  • Extending : to add to something in order to make it bigger or longer
  • Spokes : any of the rods that join the edge of a wheel to its centre, so giving the wheel its strength
  • Photosphere : the luminous visible surface of the sun, being a shallowlayer ofstrongly ionized gases.
  • Consequently : as a result, effect, or outcome
  • Arrangements : an act of arranging; state of being arranged.
  • Occur : to happen; take place; come to pass
  • Tendency : a natural or prevailing disposition to move, proceed, or act insomedirection or toward some point, end, or result
  • Associated : to connect or bring into relation, as thought, feeling, memory, etc.
  • Cluster : a number of things of the same kind, growing or held together; abunch

3. THE IDEAS OF EACH PARAGRAPH

  • Paragraph one : According to the controversial sunspot theory, great storms or eruptions on the surface of the sun hurl streams of solar particles into space and the atmosphere of Earth causing shifts in the weather and interference with radio and television communications.
  • Paragraph two : A typical sunspot consists of a dark central umbra, a word derived from the Latin word for shadow, which is surrounded by a lighter penumbra of light and dark threads extending out from the center like the spokes of a wheel.
  • Paragraph three : Sunspots range in size from tiny granules to complex structures with areas stretching for billions of square miles. About 5 percent of all sunspots are large enough so that they can be seen from Earth without instruments.
  • Paragraph four : Sunspot has been observed in arrangements of one to more than one hundred spots, but they tend to occur in pairs. There is also a marked tendency for the two spots of a pair to have opposite magnetic polarities.
  • Paragraph five : Scientist’ attempts to relate the phenomenon to magnetic field lines along the lines of longitude from the north and south poles of the sun.

4. ANSWER FROM THE QUESTIONS GIVEN

1. What is the author’s main purpose in the passage?

  • A. To propose a theory to explain sunspots
  • B. To describe the nature of sunspots
  • C. To compare the umbra and penumbra in sunspots
  • D. To argue for the existence of magnetic fields in sunspots

2. The word controversial in paragraph 1 is closet in meaning to?

  • A. Widely accepted
  • B. Open to debate
  • C. Just introduced
  • D. Very complicated

3. Solar particles are hurled into space by ?

  • A. Undetermined causes
  • B. Disturbances of wind
  • C. Small rivers on the surface of the sun
  • D. Changes in the Earth’s atmosphere

4. The word particles in paragraph 1 refer to ?

  • A. Gas explosions in the atmosphere
  • B. Light rays from the sun
  • C. Liquid streams on the sun
  • D. Small pieces of matter from the sun

5. How can we describe matter from the sun that enters the Earth’s atmosphere?

  • A. Very small
  • B. Very hot
  • C. Very bright
  • D. Very hard

6. What does the author mean by the statement Actually, the sunspots are cooler than the rest of the photosphere, which may account for their apparently darker color?

  • A. Neither sunspots nor the photosphere is hot.
  • B. Sunspots in the photosphere do not have any color.
  • C. The color of sunspots could be affected by their temperature.
  • D. The size of a sunspot affects its temperature.

7. The word they in the paragraph 2 refers to ?

  • A. Structure
  • B. Spots
  • C. Miles
  • D. Granules

8. The word consequently in the paragraph 2 could best be replaced by?

  • A. As a result
  • B. Nevertheless
  • C. Without doubt
  • D. In this way

9. In which configuration do sunspots usually occur?

  • A. In one spot of varying size
  • B. In a configuration of two spots
  • C. In arrangements of one hundred or more spots
  • D. In groups of several thousand spots

10. How are sunspots explained?

  • A. Sunspots appear to be related to magnetic fields on the Earth.
  • B. Sunspots may be related to magnetic fields that follow longitudinal lines on the sun.
  • C. Sunspots are explained by storms that occur on the Earth.
  • D. Sunspots have no theory or model to explain them.

11. The sunspot theory is ?

  • A. Not considered very important
  • B. Widely accepted
  • C. Subject to disagreement
  • D. Relatively new

5. SUMMARY OF THE PASSAGE

According to the controversial sunspot theory, great storms or eruptions on the surface of the sun hurl streams of solar particles into space and the atmosphere of Earth causing shifts in the weather and interference with radio and television communications. A typical sunspot consists of a dark central umbra, a word derived from the Latin word for shadow, which is surrounded by a lighter penumbra of light and dark threads extending out from the center like the spokes of a wheel. Sunspots range in size from tiny granules to complex structures with areas stretching for billions of square miles. About 5 percent of all sunspots are large enough so that they can be seen from Earth without instruments. Sunspot has been observed in arrangements of one to more than one hundred spots, but they tend to occur in pairs. There is also a marked tendency for the two spots of a pair to have opposite magnetic polarities. Scientist’ attempts to relate the phenomenon to magnetic field lines along the lines of longitude from the north and south poles of the sun.

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