This image of the Sun was taken with a hydrogen-alpha telescope on September 12, 2013 at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Here, the sheer power of the Sun is demonstrated by the chaos visible above its surface.
Hydrogen-alpha filters allow us to look at a layer of the Sun’s atmosphere known as the chromosphere.
The bright structures that seem to erupt from the Sun’s edge are called prominences. These, as well as the dark lines, or filaments, that stretch across the face of the Sun, are made of plasma following along magnetic loops that jut out from inside the Sun.
The yellow spiral on the Sun’s face to the right of the center is called a plage. Plages are clouds that form above sunspots and are even more energetic than the rest of the chromosphere. This one formed above sunspot AR 1838, which lasted for two days.
Telescope: Lunt 100mm hydrogen-alpha
Camera: Lumenera SKYnyx 2-2M
Image Number: WEB13364-2013
Credit: Image by Smithsonian Staff, Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory
For print or commercial use please see our permissions page.