This image of the Sun was taken at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory on May 3, 2013 at 12:17 PM with a hydrogen-alpha telescope.
There are two large sunspot groups on the disk; these areas of increased magnetic activity are slightly cooler than the rest of the Sun because the hot gas can’t circulate upward. Below the largest sunspot group a chain of filaments can be seen; there are several other filaments sprinkled throughout the disk. These features are magnetic loops that protrude out of the sun and into its atmosphere.
90 minutes after this image was taken, the bright area to the upper right unleashed a strong M-class solar flare, which made that area glow brightly for about half an hour. This occurred while the Observatory was open for public viewing.
Telescope: Lunt 100mm hydrogen- alpha
Camera: Lumenera SKYnyx 2-2M
Image Number: WEB13112-2013
Credit: Image by Shauna Edson and Kaitlin Evans, Smithsonian Public Observatory Project
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