A colossal million-mile-long column shooting from the sun’s surface is captured by an astronomer: Stunning image showing a glowing stream of plasma that traveled at 100,000 mph as it floated into space
- An amateur astrophotographer took more than a million images of the sun in a span of six hours.
- A solar storm erupted, resulting in the largest solar prominence I have ever witnessed.
- A column of plasma began to form from the prominence that grew to be about a million miles long, then broke off and floated off into space until it disappeared.
An amateur astrophotographer pointed his telescope at the sun and watched a plume shoot out of the fiery surface at 100,000 miles per hour as it grew to more than a million miles long.
Andrew McCarthywho lives in Arizonahe told DailyMail.com that he spent six hours taking more than a million photographs which he ‘stitched’ together for the final image, but because the column was so large, he was only able to capture half of it in the photo.
The energetic and highly magnetized superheated gas ejection, or coronal mass ejection (CME), was released from what McCarthy said was the largest solar prominence he had ever witnessed: the bright feature extending outward from the surface had approximately 500,000 miles wide.
The day McCarthy observed the sun was also when a minor solar storm erupted over the sun, leading to the formation of the large prominence that caught his eye.
“I noticed that the big prominence was starting to take off, a clear sign that something exciting was about to happen,” he said.
So I kept my telescope pointed [at] and saw the CME form.
“These are the moments for which solar astronomers live.”
Andrew McCarthy captured a colossal column shooting out of the sun. The plasma stream spread out for about a million miles. The event occurred during a minor solar storm.
The colossal plume formed on September 24, which was the day a solar storm erupted on the sun.
However, the storm was classified in the lowest category and may not have been seen by eyes on Earth.
The plasma plume began to appear from the giant prominence and then broke apart, flying into space at about 100,000 miles per hour, according to McCarthy, who also tweeted live the event.
The images were taken with a modified five-inch refracting telescope, which McCarthy said “has to be modified because otherwise pointing a telescope at the sun would blind you.”
The plume began to grow slowly, reaching 200,000 miles and then 600,000 miles before reaching over a million and breaking up into space.
‘That’s the distance from Earth to JWST [Jame Webb Space Telescope]’, he shared in a tweet.
McCarthy, who has a gallery of stunning images showing the wonders of space, he kept his eyes on the plume for at least two hours, watching it break up and float off into space where it became more of a moon-sized blob, rather than the roaring ball of gas overheated it was initially.
And the more he moved, the weaker he became.
“The prominence you see in the photo extends about 500,000 miles, maybe a little less,” McCarthy told DailyMail.com.
McCarthy took more than a million photographs of the sun and stitched them together for the final piece. She watched the plume grow until it broke off and floated off into space. Pictured is a raw image she took
It’s easy to visualize when you realize that the sun is 865,000 miles wide!
“The little snippets I followed in my live tweets were closer to a million miles, but they didn’t make it to the final photo.”
McCarthy went on to explain that because so much footage was used, he incorporated a technique called “lucky imaging” into his shots.
“I use the TIFF format (a lot of astrophotographers use the video format) because I think it gives me more control over rejecting bad frames when my wind picks up or when I see conditions getting worse,” he said.
Our atmosphere makes things complicated at times.”
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