Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2010 March 16
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Detailed View of a Solar Eclipse Corona
Credit & Copyright: Miloslav Druckmüller (Brno University of Technology), Martin Dietzel, Peter Aniol, Vojtech Rušin

Explanation: Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona's brightness, although discernible to the eye, are notoriously difficult to photograph. Pictured above, however, using multiple images and digital processing, is a detailed image of the Sun's corona taken during the 2008 August total solar eclipse from Mongolia. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields. Bright looping prominences appear pink just above the Sun's limb. The next total solar eclipse will be in July but will only be visible in a thin swath of Earth crossing the southern Pacific Ocean and South America.

Tomorrow's picture: mars phobos

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