A beautiful photo by Alan Friedman showing a solar prominence twisting high – as in, tens of thousands of miles high – above the surface of the Sun. This image was taken on June 2, 2010 through Friedman’s hydrogen alpha telescope. This allows us to see the complex texture of the Sun’s surface, called the photosphere, as well as the relatively thinner – and much hotter – glowing layer just above called the chromosphere. Flame-like structures called spicules form a constantly moving and jagged boundary to the chromosphere when seen along the Sun’s limb, as in the photo above.
Here’s another fantastic image of the entire Sun posted by Alan a few days earlier. Very cool!
UPDATE: The image in the above link ^ is the Astronomy Picture of the Day for today, June 9! Congrats to Alan on that!
Image ©Alan Friedman. All rights reserved.