This stunning portrait of the sun spread like hot plasma all over the internet yesterday. Wired.com spoke with artist and astrophotographer Alan Friedman to find out how he made it.
Friedman shoots the sky from his backyard in downtown Buffalo, New York.
“I don’t care about sky glow at all,” Friedman said. “I just need atmospheric steadiness.”
On Oct. 20, Friedman hooked his telescope to a hydrogen-alpha filter, which selects a tiny slice of the visible light spectrum. Hydrogen, the chief component of the sun, radiates strongly in this deep-red light, letting both the sun’s outer layers and the feathery filaments that extend away from the disk show up in sharp detail (see photos below).