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.

2014 July 11
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Spotty Sunrise over Brisbane
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Mudge

Explanation: In this composite cityscape, dawn's first colors backdrop the lights along Brisbane's skyline at the southeastern corner of Queensland, Australia, planet Earth. Using a solar filter, additional exposures made every 3.5 minutes follow the winter sunrise on July 8 as planet-sized sunspots cross the visible solar disk. The sunspots mark solar active regions with convoluted magnetic fields. Even as the maximum in the solar activity cycle begins to fade, the active regions produce intense solar flares and eruptions launching coronal mass ejections (CMEs), enormous clouds of energetic particles, into our fair solar system.

Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend

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