Categories: Astrophotossun

Astrophoto: The Sun as a Work of Art

Here’s a solar flare with a little flair added! Astrophotographer Rick Ellis from Toronto, Canada created this “artsy” Sun by using a series of photoshop filters and effects with a combination of two images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory taken on April 12, 2013. He tinkered with the contrast at specific color ranges, applied “equalization,” and used a filter called “accented edges.”

“Then I posterized it and ran it through the “posterize edges” filter which really brings out many details,” Rick said via email.

Rick admitted to some confusion about the difference between solar flares and coronal mass ejections, and so we figured this might be a good time to explain. They do have several similarities, however: both solar flares and CMEs are energetic events on the Sun that are both associated with high energy particles, and they both depend on magnetic fields on the Sun.

In the case of a CME, coronal material is ejected into space at high speeds. According to Berkeley University the most obvious difference between a solar flare and a CME is the spatial scale on which they occur.

“Flares are local events as compared to CMEs which are much larger eruptions of the corona,” says the Berkeley webpage, and sometimes a CME can be larger than the Sun itself. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections often occur together, but each can also take place in the absence of the other.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

Recent Posts

NASA Simulation Shows What Happens When Stars Get Too Close to Black Holes

What happens to a star when it strays too close to a monster black hole?…

7 hours ago

The Parker Solar Probe is getting pelted by hypervelocity dust. Could they damage spacecraft?

There’s a pretty significant disadvantage to going really fast - if you get hit with…

10 hours ago

The Decadal Survey is out! What new Missions and Telescopes are in the Works?

It’s that time again.  Once every ten years, the American astronomy community joins forces through…

10 hours ago

This is a Classic Example of a Reflection Nebula, Where the Reflected Light From Young Hot Stars Illuminates a Protostellar Cloud of Gas and Dust

The interplay of energy and matter creates beautiful sights. Here on Earth, we enjoy rainbows,…

11 hours ago

A Gravitational Lens Shows the Same Galaxy Three Times

Images from the Hubble Space Telescope are often mind-bending in both their beauty and wealth…

16 hours ago

NASA Launches DART, to Learn how to Defend the Earth From a Future Asteroid Impact

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) just launched and will intercept a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA)…

1 day ago