Picture of the Day

The middle child

Between the photosphere and the corona, the sun’s chromosphere roils and churns. One of three main outer layers that make up the sun’s atmosphere, the chromosphere often appears red as superheated hydrogen emits light. When viewed during a total solar eclipse, the red rim of the chromosphere is just visible to the naked eye. This image reveals solar features seen best through a spectrograph. These include bright areas surrounding sunspots, called plages, that are associated with strong magnetic fields. A solar flare can also be seen erupting to the right of the sunspot in the lower right. Cool, thread-like features magnetically suspended above the sun’s surface, called filaments or solar prominences, are visible in the center and upper left.

Visit Website | Image credit: Kevin Reardon/National Solar Observatory/Dunn Solar Telescope with the Interferometric BIdimensional Spectrometer (IBIS)