A stunning image of our home star

Jul 15, 2014 by Jason Major, Universe Today
Sunspots and a detached prominence photographed on July 11, 2014. Credit: Alan Friedman

Active regions 2108 and 2109 are now passing around the limb of the Sun, but not before solar photography specialist Alan Friedman grabbed a few pictures of them on Friday!   The image above, captured by Alan from his location in Buffalo, NY, shows the two large sunspots nestled in a forest of solar spicules while a large detached prominence hovers several Earth-diameters inside the corona. A beautiful snapshot of our home star!

Captured in hydrogen-alpha wavelengths, the image above has been colored by Alan, rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, and inverted from the original. The sunspots and standing prominence are cooler in Ha than the surrounding chromosphere and , and so actually photograph darker.

Sunspots are the result of magnetic fields rising up from deep within the Sun, preventing convection from occurring in large areas on the Sun's surface and thereby creating relatively cooler regions we see as dark spots. They can often be many times the size of Earth and can be sources of powerful solar flares.

See these and more images by Alan on his blog here.

AR2109 photographed by Alan Friedman on July 11, 2014.


Explore further: Image of solar activity shows two bright bands circling the Sun

Related Stories

NASA's SDO sees giant January sunspots

Jan 07, 2014

An enormous sunspot, labeled AR1944, slipped into view over the sun's left horizon late on Jan. 1, 2014. The sunspot steadily moved toward the right, along with the rotation of the sun, and now sits almost ...

Solar minimum; solar maximum

Nov 27, 2012

(Phys.org)—The picture on the left shows a calm sun from Oct. 2010. The right side, from Oct. 2012, shows a much more active and varied solar atmosphere as the sun moves closer to peak solar activity, a ...

Giant sunspot makes third trip across the sun

Feb 28, 2014

a magnetically strong and complex region on the sun's surface – has just appeared over the sun's horizon. This is the third trip for this region across the face of the sun, which takes approximately 27 ...

Giant sunspot turns to face the Earth

Nov 11, 2011

What has been billed as the largest sunspot observed in several years has now rotated around to stare straight at Earth. How large is it? Active Region 1339 and the group of sunspots adjacent to it extends ...

Recommended for you

Mercury MESSENGER nears epic mission end

5 hours ago

A spacecraft that carries a sensor built at the University of Michigan is about to crash into the planet closest to the sun—just as NASA intended.

Dawn glimpses Ceres' north pole

7 hours ago

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken ...

A blueprint for clearing the skies of space debris

Apr 17, 2015

An international team of scientists have put forward a blueprint for a purely space-based system to solve the growing problem of space debris. The proposal, published in Acta Astronautica, combines a super-wide field-of-view telesc ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.