Image credit: left image – ESA, right image – NASA/SDO

Today we have a blast of space history. The image on the left is the very first photographic image taken of our nearest star. In April of 1845 (that’s 168 years ago), Armand Fizeau and Leon Foucault, two French physicists, took this image using daguerreotype photography.

 

The technology, and photography in general, was brand-spanking new. Research in photography was taking off and, less than a decade after daguerreotype photography was invented, Fizeau and Foucault had successfully adapted the process for photographing astronomical object. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first photographic image of something in space. These physicists pioneered astrophotography, a technique used to advance the realms of science as well as a hobby that consumes millions.

 

The image to the right is a modern-day image of the sun. Taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, this HMI Continuum image shows the Sun in visible light, so it’s the same type of light the 1845 image was imaging. In addition, the SDO and other Sun-monitoring satellites/telescopes view the Sun in every spectrum of light in our attempt to learn and understand our closest star.


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