What the blazes could this be? No, not an abstract painting, but the swirling surface of the SUN
With twirling patterns of orange, red and yellow, it looks like an undiscovered Van Gogh.
But this astonishing image is actually a close-up of the sun, showing the fiery jets of fast-moving superheated gas that constantly burst from the solar surface.
The twisting tubes, known as spicules, are around 300 miles in diameter and spurt upwards from the sun at supersonic speeds of 45,000mph. They can be likened to pipes of gas, each as wide as a small country and as long as half the Earth.
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One of the highest resolution images yet of spicules which cover the solar active region 11092 that crossed the sun last month
In the lower right is a small sunspot, a dark patch of cooler gas on the sun’s surface. Sun spots can last for days or months and numbers rise and fall in a cycle lasting around 11 years.The picture, taken by astronomer Dr Kevin Reardon, covers a relatively small proportion of the sun’s surface, just 65,000 square miles.