An astrophotographer has revealed his ‘clearest ever photo of the Sun.’
Andrew McCarthy layered 150,000 individual photographs of the Sun to represent the intricate and stunning detail of the solar system’s star.
The photographer, known on Instagram as @cosmic-background, defines the Sun’s tiny craters and fiery ripples, as well as a building space flare.
All of this can be seen in the final 300 megapixel image, which is 30 times bigger than a standard 10 megapixel camera image.
Swirls and feather-like patterns, as well as mysterious dark sunspots, can be seen in its most detailed view.
The dark spots in the images are actually inverted by the photographic process and are very bright high energy areas of the burning star in reality.
The process is difficult and requires the use of a specialized telescope with two filters in order to avoid a fire and the photographer going blind.
Andrew said: “It isn’t until I am done processing an image that I actually see what it really looks like, and this was a very special one.”
“I always get excited about photographing the sun, it is really interesting because it is always different.”
“While the Moon is more of a benchmark of how clear the skies are, the Sun is never boring and it was a very good day on the Sun that day.”
“To create the extreme magnification I used a modified telescope.”
“Combined, those photos allowed me to see the Sun in incredible detail.” added Andrew, who lives in Arizona.
The Sun is the star at the heart of the Solar System, a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, radiating energy.
It has a diameter of 1.39 million km, and is 330,000 times the mass of the Earth. Three quarters of the star is made of hydrogen, followed by helium, oxygen, carbon, neon and iron.
It is a G-type main sequence star and is sometimes called a yellow dwarf.
The Sun formed from the gravitational collapse of matter in a large molecular cloud that gathered in the centre. The rest flattened into an orbiting disc that formed everything else.