Colossal million-mile-long plume erupting from the surface of the sun is captured by an astrophotographer: Stunning image shows bright stream of plasma traveling 100,000 mph as it floats through space
- An amateur astrophotographer took more than a million images of the sun in a six-hour period
- A solar storm erupted resulting in the largest solar prominence he had ever seen
- A plasma plume began to form from the prominence which grew until it was about a million miles long, then broke off and floated through space until he disappears.
An amateur astrophotographer pointed his telescope at the sun and watched a plume shoot up from the fiery surface at 100,000 miles per hour as it reached over a million miles in length.
Andrew McCarthy, who lives in Arizona, told DailyMail.com he spent six hours taking over a million photos which he ‘stitched together’ for the final image – but because the panache was so massive, he could only 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 seen – the bright feature extending exterior from the surface was about 500,000 miles wide.
The day McCarthy observed the sun was also the day a minor solar storm erupted on the sun, leading to the formation of the large prominence that caught his eye.
“I noticed that the big prominence was starting to peel off – a clear sign that something exciting was about to happen,” he said.
‘So I kept my telescope pointed [at] and looked at the CME form.
“These are the moments that solar astronomers live for.”
Andrew McCarthy captured a colossal plume shooting out from the sun. The plasma stream extended for about a million kilometres. The event occurred during a minor solar storm
The colossal plume formed on September 24, the day a solar storm erupted on the sun.
However, the storm ranked in the lowest category and may have been missed by eyes on Earth.
According to McCarthy, who also live tweeted the event.
The images were taken using a modified five-inch refractor telescope, which McCarthy says “must be modified because pointing a telescope at the sun would otherwise blind you.”
The plume began to grow slowly, reaching 200,000 miles and then 600,000 before reaching over a million and breaking into space.
‘This is 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, kept his eyes on the plume for at least two hours, watching it break loose and float through space where it became more of a blob of the the size of a moon, rather than the roaring ball of superheated gas that it was initially.
And the further he went, the weaker he became.
“The prominence you see in the photo extends for about 500,000 miles, maybe a little less,” McCarthy told DailyMail.com.
McCarthy took over a million photos of the sun and stitched them together for the final piece. He watched the plume grow until it broke off and floated into space. Pictured is a raw image he took
“It’s easy to visualize when you realize the sun is 865,000 miles wide!”
“The little bits I tracked in my live tweets were closer to a million miles, but those didn’t make it into the final photo.”
McCarthy went on to explain that because so much imagery was used, he incorporated a technique called “lucky imagery” into his shots.
“I use the TIFF format (many astrophotographers use the video format) because I find it gives me more control over rejecting bad images when my wind picks up or I see conditions deteriorate,” a- he declared.
Our atmosphere sometimes makes things tricky.”
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