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The sun is a mass of incandescent (Blue) gas...
November 4, 2009 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Astronomy Picture of the Day presents a truly magnificent sight: the blue sun.
posted by Taft (36 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's worth noting from the second link that the picture was originally taken "in a specific red color of light emitted by hydrogen gas called Hydrogen-alpha and then color inverted to appear blue."

It's still a great picture, but does absolutely nothing to explain where the Fruity Oaty Bars come from.
posted by explosion at 5:46 AM on November 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


That is good! If you want more like this, a Google image search something like "sun h alpha" will get a ton of similar pics. I particularly like this one. I would love to try my hand at that sort of astrophotography, but the filter required is not cheap. It filters out all visible light except that emitted by a specific transition of the hydrogen atom and is widely used in astronomy.
posted by TedW at 5:48 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The sun is shaped like a shag carpet? This could mean a lot for the future of metaphors in poetry.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:49 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


TedW's link looks disconcertingly like a small Mandelbrot set devouring the sun.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:51 AM on November 4, 2009


This seems relevant

Fantastic photo.
posted by elmono at 5:55 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


ON BIZARRO WORLD SUN AM ALWAYS BLUE
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:02 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't care what the eggheads say. The sun is clearly a giant ball of fire.
posted by diogenes at 6:11 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


anybody besides me starting to get really freaked out by the continuing lack of sunspots?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:22 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


They Might Be Giants make it very clear that the sun is not made of gas, but is made of plasma. I know from listening to interviews with the band that they researched this thoroughly. Yet, the description of the image (written by a "professional astronomer") says that the sun is "an extremely large ball of bubbling hot gas." Who am I supposed to believe, a novelty rock duo, or an anonymous internet astronomer? I'm going to go with TMBG...
posted by diogenes at 6:23 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


anybody besides me starting to get really freaked out by the continuing lack of sunspots?

I wasn't, but now I'm thinking maybe I should?
posted by diogenes at 6:23 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


They Might Be Giants make it very clear that the sun is not made of gas, but is made of plasma.

I like the new, updated and more accurate version, but nothing will ever be as catchy as the first.
posted by Taft at 6:28 AM on November 4, 2009


Two by two, hands of blue...
posted by PenDevil at 6:34 AM on November 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Astronomers will often not bother to distinguish between plasma and gas, especially when trying to interest the public who might well not know the difference anyway.

Heck, cosmologists will often bundle the vast majority of matter into the category 'dust', and for an astronomer a metal is any element past helium. As a science it's not the most pedantic.
posted by edd at 7:09 AM on November 4, 2009


mccarty.tim: "The sun is shaped like a shag carpet? This could mean a lot for the future of metaphors in poetry."

Check out them spicules!
posted by Joe Beese at 7:10 AM on November 4, 2009


I think Adrian Belew should also get some credit for this, musically speaking.

Extra bonus points to anyone who can find an online song clip that actually contains the words "big blue sun". All the ones I find stop just short.
posted by dr. fresh at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2009


anybody besides me starting to get really freaked out by the continuing lack of sunspots?


What? You're worried that the sun is, in fact, a gigantic egg containing an infant Dragon God of fire, flame, and hate, you will devour the Earth within seconds of it's horrible, horrible creation?


Cause that's just crazy talk.
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


They Might Be Giants make it very clear that the sun is not made of gas, but is made of plasma. I know from listening to interviews with the band that they researched this thoroughly.

Except that TMBG didn't write this song - it's a cover.
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2009


I'm really pissed off there's not a space ship strong enough for me to fly through the photosphere and explore the inner layers of the Sun.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2009


What color is the universe? . . . The answer, depicted above, is a conditionally perceived shade of beige.

See also: Cosmic Latte
posted by not_on_display at 7:23 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Damn! That's some cool stuff.
posted by reenum at 7:30 AM on November 4, 2009


Suggested background music for viewing the site: John Coltrane's "Sun Ship".
posted by Joe Beese at 7:50 AM on November 4, 2009


"Except that TMBG didn't write this song - it's a cover."
That one's a cover, but the one referred to by diogenes is not.
posted by edd at 8:01 AM on November 4, 2009


Here's another Blue sun, taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
posted by dhruva at 8:51 AM on November 4, 2009


I've been fond of X-ray images of the sun, although they too are more dramatic when the sun is more active.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:23 AM on November 4, 2009


Has anyone been able to figure out how to get the Astronomy Picture of the Day automatically sent to you? I know I'll forget to go back to the website by tomorrow.
posted by digsrus at 9:29 AM on November 4, 2009


Wolfdog, I remember thinking a similar thing when I first saw this image... looks like a mandelbrot set on it's side.

Also: A jaw-dropping set of pictures on the always incredible The Big Picture blog.
posted by vectr at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


("its" damn it)
posted by vectr at 9:39 AM on November 4, 2009


Extra bonus points to anyone who can find an online song clip that actually contains the words "big blue sun". All the ones I find stop just short.

How about the whole song available for streaming here?
posted by polymath at 10:04 AM on November 4, 2009


Blue Sun Corp strikes again
posted by pantsrobot at 10:13 AM on November 4, 2009


How great to get this unusual view of the sun -- one I haven't seen before. Does this mean my new cool perspective on Sol will only happen once in a blue sun?
posted by bearwife at 10:31 AM on November 4, 2009


That one's a cover, but the one referred to by diogenes is not.

If only I had video proof that I was singing "The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma" years before "Here Comes Science" was released...
posted by straight at 10:47 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wish that Astronomical Picture of the Day site had some sort of feed. I always forget it exists.
posted by bjork24 at 12:44 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It has.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:00 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome.
posted by bjork24 at 7:29 PM on November 4, 2009


It may be a magnificent sight, but not because it's blue. Or if that's the case for you, then you'll be delighted with what you can do in Photoshop.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 8:12 PM on November 4, 2009


APOD also has a widget for the Mac geeks, although it gets confused when they post a video.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 1:31 AM on November 5, 2009


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