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.
2013 May 20
Explanation: Our Sun is not a giant blueberry. Our Sun can be made to appear similar to the diminutive fruit, however, by imaging it in a specific color of extreme violet light called CaK that is emitted by the very slight abundance of ionized Calcium in the Sun's atmosphere, and then false color-inverting the image. This solar depiction is actually scientifically illuminating as a level of the Sun's chromosphere appears quite prominent, showing a crackly textured surface, cool sunspots appearing distinctly bright, and surrounding hot active regions appearing distinctly dark. The Sun is currently near the maximum activity level in its 11 year cycle, and has emitted powerful flares over the past week. During times of high activity, streams of energetic particles from Sun may impact the Earth's magnetosphere and set off spectacular auroras.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.