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Astrophotos: The Wispy Edge of the Sun

Sun in H-alpha, prominences May 17, 2014. Credit and copyright: Mary Spicer.

Sun in H-alpha, prominences May 17, 2014. Credit and copyright: Mary Spicer.

It’s like a total solar eclipse — without the Moon! Using a special hydrogen-alpha filter that completely blocks the Sun’s photosphere (visible surface) these images show just the Sun’s corona and the dancing solar prominences. The filter blocks all light from the Sun except for the red light emitted by excited hydrogen atoms, which are responsible for the distinctive color of prominences and the chromosphere, the wispy, hot layer of gas that overlies the photosphere.

Of course, never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or through a telescope without a special solar filter.

The image above by Mary Spicer was taken with a Coronado PST, 2 x Barlow plus Canon 1100D. ISO-3200 1/400 second exposure, processed in Lightroom and Focus Magic.

See more below:

Solar prominences on April 21, 2014. Credit and copyright: Roger Hutchinson.

Solar prominences on April 21, 2014. Credit and copyright: Roger Hutchinson.

These images by Roger Hutchinson were taken with a Lunt LS60 Ha, Skyris 618C, and 2.5x Powermate.

Solar prominences on May 18, 2014 in H-alpha. Credit and copyright: Roger Hutchinson.

Solar prominences on May 18, 2014 in H-alpha. Credit and copyright: Roger Hutchinson.

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About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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