Pillar of Fire

Ok it’s not fire, it’s plasma, but it’s nevertheless a wonderful image by space photographer Alan Friedman showing a coronal ejection towering over 200,000 miles above the surface of the sun. It was taken on July 27, 2010. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) occur when particularly large magnetic loops filled with plasma “snap” and expel their…

Fo Sizzle

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…

Seeing Spots

A gorgeous photo of our Sun by Alan Friedman, taken from his location in Buffalo, NY and uploaded to his site on February 7, shows a huge string of sunspots and an energetic region of prominences, as well as the granules and spicules that create the Sun’s surface texture. Sunspot 1045, the string seen here,…

Hello, Neighbor

On Friday, January 29, Mars was in opposition and appeared very bright in the eastern sky, near the Moon. The photograph above was shot and color-calibrated by photographer Alan Friedman from his location in Buffalo, New York. The bright north polar ice cap is clearly visible, as are some darker surface features and wispy clouds….

Sun Dance

This mesmerizing animation by photographer Alan Friedman shows a solar prominence as it changes structure over the course of 78 minutes. Solar prominences are eruptions of hot gases extending from the sun’s surface, held together by magnetic forces which constantly shift and move. They can last for days or months, and extend thousands and even…

Electric Blue

  Yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day was this fantastic image by the talented Alan Friedman, showing the sphere of our Sun taken in a special wavelength of light emitted by hydrogen gas and then inverted to look blue. Incredible details of the Sun’s surface – the chromosphere – become visible, most notably the texture…