Gradient sun

Photo: NASA/GSFC/SDO

Purple and orange coronal loops

Scientists and artists have more in common than one might think. Many techniques used by artists are just as indispensable for scientists, who use breathtaking images of the natural world to engage the public in learning about science. One example of a technique used by scientists is the gradient filter in a photo editing program. The gradient filter is used to enhance places of contrast in an image.

 

When a gradient filter is applied to the sun, such as in the photo above, scientists are able to better identify instances of coronal loops, which are massive arcs of solar material that follow a specific path in the sun's magnetic field.

 

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Solar flares

Photo: NASA/GSFC/SDO

Glowing teal orb

An M9-class solar flare is observed at 2:14 p.m. EDT on Oct. 20 in this colorized image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The teal-tinted image was taken at a wavelength of about 131 angstroms — the optimal wavelength for observing solar materials at 10 million Kelvin.

 

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