A photographer has captured a spectacular image of the solar surface in crystal clear detail using an inventive method.
Astronomical photographer Andrew McCarthy has been shooting the Sun and the Moon for three years—but this month, he took on his “most unique challenge” yet.
He captured the amazing close-up shot of our star, which is a staggering 93 million miles from Earth, using his new ultra-sharp solar telescope camera.
McCarthy, from California, said this allowed him to capture the crispest image of the Sun he’s ever taken.
The photographer, who posts his work on @cosmic_background Instagram page, created this striking image by shooting at a rate of about 100 photos per second.
He layered almost 100,000 individual frames over each other to render, in unfathomable detail, the intricate drama of the solar surface.
The celestial body glows a deep red, its surface boiling, standing out against a dark background in the enormous 230-megapixel image.
McCarthy’s photo is so sharp that even the plasma of the Sun’s periphery is visible—dancing around in the radiant atmosphere.
“I was very pleased with the final result,” McCarthy said.
“I wasn’t sure if the image would turn out so well, as stitching together a large photo of the sun comes with unique challenges that I’ve never dealt with before.
“But I will definitely be producing more of these.”
He added, “To capture the sun in more detail than I’ve ever attempted, I assembled a new solar telescope that gave me 4,000 mm of focal length, about 10x the magnification of my previous telescope.
“I used a technique called ‘lucky imaging,’ so the best frames from a particular session are stacked together to help reduce the effects of the atmosphere.
“These photos were captured just before noon, when the sun was high in the sky but while the atmosphere was still relatively calm.
“By capturing close up details of the surface with this rig, timed when the atmosphere was very still, I was able to produce sharp details on its surface.
“These objects around the edge of the Sun are known as a ‘prominence’—a mass of plasma suspended in the solar atmosphere by the sun’s powerful magnetic field.
“These happen quite frequently, and last a long time.”
To see more of Andrew’s amazing astrophotography, visit his Instagram page @cosmic_background, or visit https://www.patreon.com/ajamesmccarthy.
(Video credit: SWNS)
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.