The 3 component McIntosh classification (McIntosh, Sol. Phys. 125, 251-267,1990) is based on the general form 'Zpc', where 'Z' is the modified Zurich Class, 'p' describes the penumbra of the principal spot, and 'c' describes the distribution of spots in the interior of the group.
Examples: Dao, Eao, Ekc, Fai, Fkc, Fko. (Images courtesy: Franky Dubois)
Z-values: (Modified Zurich Sunspot Classification). A - A small single unipolar sunspot. Representing either the formative or final stage of evolution. B - Bipolar sunspot group with no penumbra on any of the spots. C - A bipolar sunspot group. One sunspot must have penumbra. D - A bipolar sunspot group with penumbra on both ends of the group. Longitudinal extent does not exceeds 10 deg. E - A bipolar sunspot group with penumbra on both ends. Longitudinal extent exceeds 10 deg. but not 15 deg. F - An elongated bipolar sunspot group with penumbra on both ends. Longitudinal extent of penumbra exceeds 15 deg. H - A unipolar sunspot group with penumbra.
p-values: x - no penumbra (group class is A or B) r - rudimentary penumbra partially surrounds the largest spot. This penumbra is incomplete, granular rather than filamentary, brighter than mature penumbra, and extends as litlle as 3 arcsec from the spot umbra. Rudimentary penumbra may be either in a stage of formation or dissolution. s - small, symmetric (like Zurich class J). Largest spot has mature, dark, filamentary penumbra of circular or elliptical shape with little irregularity to the border. The north-south diameter across the penumbra is less or equal than 2.5 degrees. a - small, asymmetric. Penumbra of the largest spot is irregular in outline and the multiple umbra within it are separated. The north-south diameter across the penumbra is less or equal than 2.5 degrees. h - large, symmetric (like Zurich class H). Same structure as type 's', but north-south diameter of penumbra is more than 2.5 degrees. Area, therefore, must be larger or equal than 250 millionths solar hemisphere. k - large, assymetric. Same structure as type 'a', but north-south diameter of penumbra is more than 2.5 degrees. Area, therefore, must be larger or equal than 250 millionths solar hemisphere.
c-values x - undefined for unipolar groups (class A and H) o - open. Few, if any, spots between leader and follower. Interior spots of very small size. Class E and F groups of 'open' category are equivalent to Zurich class G. i - intermediate. Numerous spots lie between the leading and following portions of the group, but none of them possesses mature penumbra. c - compact. The area between the leading and the following ends of the spot group is populated with many strong spots, with at least one interior spot possessing mature peanumbra. The extreme case of compact distribution has the entire spot group enveloped in one continuous prenumbral area.
Class (in Watt/sq. Meter) B I less than (l.t.) 10.0E-06 C 10.0E-06 l.e.= I l.t.= 10.0E-05 M 10.0E-05 l.e.= I l.t.= 10.0E-04 X I g.e.= 10.0E-04
Area Area Class Typical corresponding (sq deg) (10^-6 solar A) SXR Class <= 2.0 <= 200 S C2 2.1-5.1 200-500 1 M3 5.2-12.4 500-1200 2 X1 12.5-24.7 1200-2400 3 X5 >24.7 > 2400 4 X9
Type I. A noise storm composed of many short, narrow-band bursts in the metric range (300 - 50 MHz). Type II. Narrow-band emission that begins in the meter range (300 MHz) and sweeps slowly (tens of minutes) toward deka- meter wavelengths (10 MHz). Type II emissions occur in loose association with major FLAREs and are indicative of a shock wave moving through the solar atmosphere. Type III. Narrow-band bursts that sweep rapidly (seconds) from decimeter to dekameter wavelengths (500 - 0.5 MHz). They often occur in groups and are an occasional feature of complex solar ACTIVE REGIONs. Type IV. A smooth continuum of broad-band bursts primarily in the meter range (300 - 30 MHz). These bursts are associated with some major flare events beginning 10 to 20 minutes after the flare maximum, and can last for hours.
Alpha. Denotes a unipolar sunspot group. Beta. A sunspot group having both positive and negative magnetic polarities, with a simple and distinct division between the polarities. Beta-Gamma. A sunspot group that is bipolar but in which no continuous line can be drawn separating spots of opposite polarities. Delta. A complex magnetic configuration of a solar sunspot group consisting of opposite polarity umbrae within the same penumbra. Gamma. A complex active region in which the positive and negative polarities are so irregularly distributed as to prevent classification as a bipolar group.