The Sun in Three Colors - August 14, 2013

The Sun in Three Colors - August 14, 2013

These images of the Sun were taken at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory on August 14, 2013. The purple image was taken at 10:21 am, the white-light image at 10:33 am, and the red image at 11:58 am.

The pictures represent three different ways visitors can observe the Sun at the Public Observatory. With a white-light solar filter, as seen in the central image, visitors can see the surface of the Sun. Features of the surface include dark sunspots and subtle bright clouds called faculae. The dark core of the largest sunspot is about as large as the Earth.

With a calcium-K telescope, visitors can see the Sun in one color of deep purple light, as shown in the image on the left. This type of light shows magnetic activity on the Sun. Sunspots are magnetic storms on the Sun's surface, and they are very noticeable in this image.

Using a hydrogen-alpha telescope, visitors see a bright red Sun, as shown in the image on the right. This color reveals the atmosphere of the Sun, called the chromosphere. Some of the most dramatic features of the chromosphere are arches of gas protruding from the Sun. These loops of gas are called prominences. The Sun sported many prominences on the date of this photo, including one on the left that has detached from the Sun.

Telescopes: 60mm calcium-K, Tele Vue-85 with white-light solar filter, and 100mm hydrogen-alpha

Camera: Lumenera SKYnyx 2-2M

  • WEB13274-2013

  • Copyright/Owner: Smithsonian Institution
  • Source: Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory
  • Photographer: Smithsonian Staff
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