An astrophotographer captured a beautiful image of the huge plasma ejecting from the Sun.
The fiery filament, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), stretches into space to a distance of more than 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from the Sun’s surface, according to the report.
Image taken on 24 Sept. by professional astrophotographer and Arizona resident Andrew McCarthy, and a stunning view on Reddit on Sept. 25. shared on the r/space subreddit.
The CME was part of a minor solar storm — the G-1 class, the lowest category on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geomagnetic Scale — and was pointed from Earth, according to SpaceWeather.com.
The ejection was “the largest CME ever witnessed,” McCarthy wrote on Reddit.
The plasma was initially contained in a large loop at the surface of the Sun, which is known to protrude, and then burst into space and flowed at about 100,000 mph (161,000 km/h), McCarthy added.
Related: Could a solar storm destroy Earth?
The photograph is a false-color composite time-lapse image that stacks hundreds of thousands of images captured over a six-hour period, McCarthy wrote.
Between 30 and 80 individual images were taken every second and then stored in a file that was eventually around 800 gigabytes in size. The images were then combined to show the CME in excellent detail.
In the photo, the surface of the Sun and the CME appear orange – but they really aren’t. The chromosphere (in the lowest region of the Sun’s atmosphere) and CMEs naturally give off the kind of light that looks kidney-red to us and is known as hydrogen alpha or H-alpha light.
But because the exposure time for each image was so short, the original images were almost entirely white. McCarthy digitally added orange while composing the final image to highlight the contrast between the individual structures on the solar surface and the CME.
However, since the rest of the image has not been filtered out in orange, the Sun has an eerie white halo that stands out against the dark background.
CMEs have become more frequent in recent months as the Sun enters a period of increased solar activity known as the Solar System, which lasts about seven years. This will provide more opportunities for people to take similar photos.
“We will see more of these as we get further into the solar system,” McCarthy wrote. Plasma hair is also likely to “progress more,” he added.
Price warned people against trying to observe the Sun without proper equipment.
“Don’t design a solar telescope,” McCarthy wrote on Reddit. “Break the camera or worse your eyes.”
The telescope that used to photograph the CME had been “heavily modified with several filters” to keep the CME safe and take images, he added.
This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.
#Haunting #Photo #Heads #MillionMileLong #Plume #Shooting #Sun