Prominence Earth

A serpentine solar prominence snakes thousands of miles through space towards an unsuspecting Earth! This apocalyptic sci-fi scene is made up of two combined images of the sun from NASA’s SDO sapcecraft, acquired today September 25, 2010, superimposed and edited to show both surface (chromosphere) detail as well as coronal features, and an image of…

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…

A Beautiful Demise

I don’t usually post images of deep-space objects here but I had to make an exception for this one. With its most recent set of optics, installed in May 2009 during the STS-125 servicing mission (SM4), the Hubble Space Telescope is returning amazingly detailed images of distant, exotic objects – like the butterfly-shaped planetary nebula NGC 6302,…