Astronomy Picture of the Day

Perihelion Sun 2023
Image Credit & Copyright: Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory)

Explanation: Perihelion for 2023, Earth’s closest approach to the Sun, was on January 4 at 16:17 UTC. That was less than 24 hours after this sharp image of the Sun’s disk was recorded with telescope and H-alpha filter from Sidney, Australia, planet Earth. An H-alpha filter transmits a characteristic red light from hydrogen atoms. In views of the Sun it emphasizes the Sun’s chromosphere, a region just above the solar photosphere or normally visible solar surface. In this H-alpha image of the increasingly active Sun planet-sized sunspot regions are dominated by bright splotches called plages. Dark filaments of plasma snaking across the solar disk transition to bright prominences when seen above the solar limb.

Tomorrow’s picture: cosmic crustacean

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