Images Credit: Alan Friedman

These fantastic images of the sun were not taken by NASA or the ESO, but by an amateur 'astrophotographer' in his backyard using nothing except for his telescope, a special filter, and a webcam.

In order to take these stellar images of our closest star, Alan Friedman - who hails from Buffalo, New York - took advantage of a Hydrogen Alpha filter, which blocks almost all of the light streaming from the sun, except for a very small, narrow slice of the red that lies on the longest portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In regards to the challenges of astrophotography, Friedman said, "Our atmosphere is a formidable obstacle to capturing sharp photos of a distant object. Streaming many frames in a short period of time allows me to temper the blurring effects of air turbulence. Each photo is made from many thousands of frames. Most frames are unusable; distorted by the heat currents rising from rooftops and asphalt driveways. But a few will be sharp. I review the video frame by frame for these moments of "good seeing". The high quality frames are selected and then averaged to form the raw material for my photographs."

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