Need your slice of awesome today? Then check out this truly astonishing picture of a detached prominence off the limb of the Sun.
This picture was taken by Alan Friedman, who is no stranger to this blog: his picture of the boiling Sun last year was hugely popular, and so amazing I featured it as one of my top pictures of 2010.
And with this he’s done it again… and maybe even topped it.
Alan used a filter that lets through only a very narrow wavelength of light emitted by hydrogen (called Hα for those of you keeping track at home), so this tracks the activity of gas on the solar surface. He also inverts the image of the solar disk (makes it a negative) to increase contrast. Somehow this adds a three-dimensional quality to the picture, and reveals an amazing amount of texture. I swear I had a rug in my bedroom growing up that was this texture (though somewhat cooler and less burny).