An incredible picture of the Sun has been produced by two extremely talented photographers and citizen scientists. Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel have constructed a beautiful mosaic of our Sun, showing surface features and most impressively a twisty plasma filament stretching out over the limb (outer edge) of our star.
The positioning allowed the duo to easily calculate the size of the impressive feature. Side to side, the Sun is about 109 Earths wide, and this filament extended to a distance equivalent to 14 Earths. That is about half the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
The picture, which they call Fusion of Helios, is not a single snap but an incredible mosaic made of about 90,000 individual images taken by McCarthy and processed together with Guenzel. Originally, 200,000 pictures were taken to try and get this incredibly clear image of the full disk of the Sun. The churning of the photosphere, some Sunspots, and the wisps of plasma as well as the dramatic tornado-like prominence make for an incredible picture.
The team also went one step further. Using the image that Guenzel took of the Solar Corona during The Great American Eclipse of 2017 and combining it with data from NASA’s SOHO, they created a plausible Solar Corona, a feature of the Sun that is not visible because the Sun is just too bright otherwise.
The final effect is absolutely stunning, a work of art imbued with scientific wonder.