Fr.: effet de Wilson
A phenomenon in which the shape of → sunspots flattens as they approach the → Sun's limb due to the → solar rotation. More specifically, when a sunspot approaches the → solar limbs the width of the → penumbra, relative to the → umbra, on the side facing the center of the Sun seems to become narrower than on the side facing the limb. This phenomenon arises from a projection effect, and is due to a geometrical depression (the → Wilson depression) in the layers of constant → optical depth in sunspots (see, e.g., Sami K. Solanki, 2003, Sunspots: An overview, The Astron. Astrophys. Rev., 11, 153).
First noticed by Alexander Wilson (1714-1786); → effect.