The Sun's Hidden Outermost Layer (Scattered White Light)

The Sun Now

Compare to Active Sun

image courtesy of the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory

(Image courtesy of High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, USA. NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation)


What layer does the light come from?

About the images:

The million degree Celsius outermost layer of the sun (the corona) is continually expanding to fill the space between the planets. A million tons of coronal matter is expelled every second in a solar wind to be replaced by upwelling material from the Sun's depths. This image was taken at the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory in Hawaii by an instrument called a coronameter, that blocks out the Sun's disk and views the corona in scattered white light..

What to look for:

Structures can be seen above sunspots that have a horshoe-like shape called magnetic arches. From the tops of these arches, long streamers extend to many times the Sun's diameter. Occasionally, the sun expells as much as 10 thousand million tons of matter towards the Earth (called a coronal mass ejection ) at speeds as high as several million miles per hour (1000's kilometers per second).

Connect me to the SOHO image gallery
The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/ at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). © The Regents of the University of Michigan. Windows to the Universe® is a registered trademark of UCAR. All Rights Reserved. Site policies and disclaimer