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Layered just below the sun's atmosphere, the photosphere shines rather uniformly in the visible portion of the spectrum. A few sunspots show as dark regions in this picture, where the strong magnetic fields prevent the light from radiating off the photosphere. Some of these sunspots are as large as our own planet!
This ultraviolet image shows a level of the transition layer, the innermost layer of the sun's atmosphere, that has a temperature of 180 thousand degrees Fahrenheit. Regions where strong magnetic fields concentrate great amounts of gas are white, indicating strong emissions. At the poles, magnetic fields extend straight out into space, carrying gases with them. Thus we see no electromagnetic emissions.
X-ray images of the sun reveal its hottest, outermost layer called the corona. The gases in the corona are affected by the magnetic fields much the same way as the transition layer gases. The dark regions are where the sun's magnetic field extends into outer space, carrying with it the hot gases. The bright regions show where the coronal gases are trapped in the snarls of the magnetic fields of active regions.
This image is intended to reveal the polarity of the sunspots present when this image was produced. Just like magnets sunspots have both poles. The red coloring signifies north poles, while blue coloring signifies south poles. This polarity is important in understanding how the magnetic fields interact to produce the violent eruptions that result in solar flares.
Note: Take optical from Australian server, and other images from the The New Astronomy book.
Note: Looking for more BIMA images to incorporate.
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