Sun Shots: Wired Calls for Solar Pics
We tend to think of the sun as a constant—sun goes up, sun goes down—mostly because it’s so massive and so far away that the naked eye can’t see it for the ginormous tumultuous fireball that it is. But yesterday Wired reported the collapse of a magnetic filament that had been erupting on the sun’s surface since Saturday. And it’s massive: more than 50 times our planet’s width. Damn, we’re small.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took some awesome still images of the eruptions, and stitched them together to create wonderful footage of the type of event that most of us nonscientists tend to forget about while basking in the sun’s steady and loving glory. While sun activity is not particularly rare, it’s a pretty cool reminder of what’s going on up there: all that amazing movement and sweet space stuff we admire in far-off universe lands happening daily in our own tiny solar system. And fortunately, the direction of the eruption leaves us out of its path.
Telescope owners, take note: “The image you see is in ultraviolet channels, not visible light,” Wired‘s Lisa Grossman writes. “This prominence is an excellent target for backyard telescopes. If you capture any great sun photos in the next few days, let us know.”