Friday, May 13, 2016

The Fantastic Flaming Fabulosity of Our Sun

Dear Gigantic Flaming Ball of Hot Gas, 
Churning in space, around which our entire solar system exists, I'm glad you're here!
The Sun - Basic Facts and awesome photos -
The recent Mercury transit got me thinking of all of my favorite images of the Sun. I decided to put a few together and WOW! They are stunning!
I recently saw an incredibly detailed picture of a sunspot and I truly couldn't believe the clarity! This image below simply takes my breath away! It is from 2002 and was the APOD for Nov 14th that year.
APOD Nov 14, 2002 Credit: SST, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
I love the pictures that I get from Astronomers occasionally via twitter!! They use all sorts of filters. Below is a collage of two of my favorite solar prominence shots from @FogBoundTurtle (Claude D.), an amateur astronomer, photographer from Burnaby, BC. 
Images from Claude Desrosiers, Burnaby, BC
Here is a great one of the solar surface, also by @FogBoundTurtle

Speaking of twitter (and Facebook), get to know Camilla Corona (Space Chicken), the mission mascot for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a super fun sciencey chicken that worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and is a STEM Ambassador at the Stanford Solar Center! @CamillaSpace is her Twitter handle!
I LOVE this next image from the Stanford Solar center! It has beautifully merged solar images into a quilted sun :-) It was their webpage cover! Clever!
Home page of the Stanford Solar Center
This next one is a solar prominence in X-Ray view from NASA
NASA X-ray images
AND from NASA's SDO - Solar Dynamics Observatory - At first light on April 21, 2010, the first photographs from the SDO were received. A WOW view of the high-definition sun was that of a dramatic prominence; an arc of solar plasma rising into the sun's corona. Here is a link to three year's worth of NASA SDO Images in video form with explanation!
NASA SDO images
Another fabulous APOD - from July 2013  This image below features sunspots crossing the sun. I still cannot believe the clarity and detail! Here is the explanation, directly from APOD
"Explanation: One of the largest sunspot regions in recent years is now crossing the Sun. This region of convoluted magnetic fields may well produce a solar flare that releases a cloud of energetic particles into the Solar System. Were a very powerful cloud to impact the Earth's magnetosphere, it could be dangerous to Earth-orbiting astronauts and satellites. Conversely, the impact of even a less energetic cloud might create picturesque auroraThis is the sunspot region as it appeared two days ago. The rightmost part of this region has been cataloged as AR 11785, while the left part as AR 11787. The darkest sunspot regions contain nearly vertical magnetic fields and are called umbras, while the surrounding bronze regions -- more clearly showing stringy magnetic flux tubes -- are called penumbras. Churning solar granules, many about 1000 km across, compose the yellow background region. No one knows what this sunspot region will do, but space weather researchers are monitoring it closely." ~ APOD
Image by Damian Peach -
The final one I'll post today is of the 2012 Venus transit. This image is by NASA SDO and shows the entire transit sequence! Here is the info on the image:

"About this Image
On June 5-6 2012, SDO collected images of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the sun in this cool space wallpaper. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117. This image was captured on June 5, 2012." ~ via
NASA SDO Venus transit, 2012
Lastly, the recent MERCURY TRANSIT! #MercuryTransit! It was amazing! I watched it via the Slooh Space Camera online and just left it open on my UNO desktop while I was cleaning my office. Here's the article and here is a link to more Mercurial fabulosity.

I'm sure I'll post more sunspot fabulosity at some point. Living with a mid-sized whitish decently-healthy star is awesome indeed!
Just for fun.....see below! HAHAHA! :-)

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