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.

2011 September 18
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.

A Sharp View of the Sun
Credit: SST, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Explanation: Here is one of the sharper views of the Sun ever taken. This stunning image shows remarkable details of a dark sunspot across the image bottom and numerous boiling granules which appear like kernels of corn across the top. Taken in 2002, the picture was made using the Swedish Solar Telescope operating on the Canary Island of La Palma. The high resolution image was achieved using sophisticated adaptive optics, digital image stacking, and other processing techniques to counter the blurring effect of Earth's atmosphere. Currently a sunspot group is crossing the Sun that is so large it can be easily seen by the cautious observer even without magnification.

Tomorrow's picture: south vesta

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