Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2003 July 29
Explanation: Even a quiet Sun is a busy place. The above image, taken in a single colour of light called Hydrogen Alpha, records a great amount of detail of the simmering surface of our parent star. The gradual darkening towards the Sun's edge, called limb darkening, is caused by increased absorption of relatively cool solar gas. Further over the edge, a giant prominence is visible, while a different prominence can be seen in silhouette as the dark streak near the image centre. Two active areas of the Sun are marked by bright plages. The above amateur photograph of the Sun was taken just last month through a small telescope and a standard digital camera. In contrast, there are times when our Sun appears much more active.
Authors & editors:
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.