NASA scientists use artistic filters to reveal the sun in stunning detail

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, October 18, 2012 13:15 EDT
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NASA's solar gradient filter in action. Photo: Screenshot via NASA.gov.
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Sometimes, in very rare circumstances, art and science can fuse and become one. Such is the case with a new video produced by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Using gradient filters commonly applied by photographers and graphic designers, NASA fine-tuned their high resolution videos of recent solar activity to reveal a new stunning level of detail and complexity in the sun that just might take the viewers’ breath away.

The extra level of detail these filters provide helps scientists study the different layers that make up coronal loops, Karen Fox explained in a post on NASA’s website.

“These loops can vary in complexity over the sun’s 11-year activity cycle, becoming more or less intertwined and inter-connected,” she wrote. “Observations of this phenomena can help researchers understand what’s happening with the sun’s complicated magnetic fields that can also power great eruptions on the sun such as the solar flares or coronal mass ejections.”

The video below was published by NASA on Thursday, October 18, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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