Solar Activity, August 18, 2011

This image shows most of the various forms of solar activity visible through a specialized hydrogen-alpha solar telescope. The dark streaky features are filaments, solar plasma lifted above the surface by magnetic fields. Around the edge you can see solar prominences, which are also filaments, but seen projected against the black background of space. The irregular white areas on the sun's surface are active regions capable of spawning solar flares. They are associated with sunspots, but sunspots themselves aren't well seen in the hydrogen-alpha wavelength.

This was shot though my little 40mm Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST), and is only a weak approximation of the awesome solar images created by a few amateurs with bigger and better solar equipment. The humble PST really isn't very well suited to photography.

Image copyright by Joe Bergeron.