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Telescope Captures Close-Up Of Sun's 'Bubbling' Surface (VIDEO)

First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 03:40 PM ET

Sun Surface

*See video below*

Last Wednesday, Germany's Max Plank Institute for Solar System Research released amazing, detailed video footage of the sun's surface, captured in incredible detail not visible with the naked human eye.

The video was captured by SUNRISE, the largest solar telescope ever to have left Earth, which was tethered to an enormous helium balloon and flew to the edge of the Earth's stratosphere, reaching a cruising altitude of 37 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

SUNRISE managed to return the most detailed video imagery we've ever seen of the surface of the sun, as we can see undulating near-ultraviolet wavelengths and magnetic fields.

The Max Planck institute described what was captured by the telescope:

The Sun is a bubbling mass. Packages of gas rise and sink, lending the sun its grainy surface structure, its granulation. Dark spots appear and disappear, clouds of matter dart up - and behind the whole thing are the magnetic fields, the engines of it all. The SUNRISE balloon-borne telescope, a collaborative project between the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau and partners in Germany, Spain and the USA, has now delivered images that show the complex interplay on the solar surface to a level of detail never before achieved.

Watch the "bubbling mass" of the surface of the sun in the first video below, which captures footage from the SUNRISE.

The second video was taken by NASA's STEREO spacecraft and gives us a profile view of the sun with a view of filaments swirling over the surface of the sun.


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Filed by Amanda Ng  |