(ORDO NEWS) — An astrophotographer captured an incredibly beautiful image of a massive plume of plasma erupting from the Sun.
The fiery filament, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), extended far into space. More than 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from the surface of the Sun, according to the photographer.
The image was taken on Sept. 24 by professional astrophotographer and Arizona resident Andrew McCarthy, and he shared the stunning view. on Reddit on September 25 on the r/space subreddit.
The CME was part of a minor solar storm – class G-1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) lowest geomagnetic storm category. Scale – and was pointing away from Earth, according to SpaceWeather.com.
The ethereal surge was “the biggest MCU I’ve ever seen,” McCarthy wrote on n Reddit.
The plasma was initially contained in a large loop connected to the surface of the Sun, known as a prominence, and then broke off and rushed into space at about 100,000 miles per hour (161,000 km/h), McCarthy added.
This photograph is a false-color composite slow-motion image of hundreds of thousands of images taken over a six-hour period, writes McCarthy.
Between 30 and 80 individual images were taken every second and then saved into a file that eventually reached a size of around 800 gigabytes. The images were then combined to show the KME in great detail.
In the photograph, the surface of the Sun and the CME appear orange, but in reality they are not.
The chromosphere (the lowest region of the Sun’s atmosphere) and the CME naturally emit a type of light that appears pinkish red to us and is known as hydrogen-alpha, or H-alpha, light.
But because the exposure time of each image was very short, the original images were almost completely white.
McCarthy digitally added orange in the final image compositing to provide contrast between individual structures on the Sun’s surface and highlight the CME.
However, since the rest of the image has not been filtered for orange, the Sun retains an eerie white halo that stands out against the dark background of space.
CMEs have become more frequent in recent months as the Sun has entered a period of increased solar activity known as solar maximum, which lasts about seven years.
This will give people a lot more options to make similar images.
“We will see more of these images as we get closer to solar maximum,” McCarthy wrote. Plasma plumes are also likely to “gradually increase,” he said.
The photographer warned people against trying to observe the Sun without proper equipment.
“Don’t point your telescope at the Sun,” McCarthy wrote on Reddit. “You’ll fry your camera, or worse, your eyes.”
The telescope he used to photograph the CME was “specially modified with several filters” to safely view and image the CME, he added.
Contact us: [email protected]