November 3, 2010
A Beautiful Sun – ‘Not The Great Pumpkin’
Displaying the intense ferocity of the solar atmosphere this phenomenal big picture shows the sun in a rather unusual way. Aptly entitled, ‘Not The Great Pumpkin’, it was taken by American amateur astrophotographer Alan Friedman on a small 14 inch telescope.
The image brilliantly displays the atmosphere of the sun, called the chromosphere and it was taken using a special ‘hydrogen’ filter that only captures a tiny part of the visible light spectrum.
Sun spots many times the size of the Earth can be clearly seen within the churning plasma that swirls across the superheated surface of our nearest star.
Vaporised plamsa temporarily defies the crushing gravitational pull of the sun only to cascade back to the surface in brilliant arcs of superheated gas.
The pictures were taken by part-time astrophotographer, Alan Friedman, using his small but powerful home telescope, which he affectionately calls, ‘Little Big Man.’
‘This image is seen only with a special filter that isolates a very narrow band of the visible spectrum the hydrogen alpha bandwidth,’ said the 56-year-old New Yorker.
‘The hydrogen alpha filter sits in front of my small telescope – the webcam goes in the back and is attached to my laptop computer, which runs the camera and downloads the data stream.