Best Eclipse Photo Ever!
Actually, this isn't just one photograph -- it's a composite of 31 different images, taken in the shadow of the solar eclipse that passed over Asia and parts of the Pacific back in July for 6 minutes and 39 seconds.
That's the longest solar eclipse anyone on Earth will witness this century; a longer one isn't coming until 2132. Mathematician and eclipse photographer Miloslav DruckmÃ¼ller didn't waste a second of it, positioned with a team of colleagues on Enewetak Atoll in the South Pacific, which just happens to be where the first hydrogen bomb was tested by the United States back in 1952. (Sounds like the setup to an un-aired episode of Lost, but anyway.)
The photo shows the solar corona that make up the sun's "atmosphere" in glorious detail. Its whorls and loops extend millions of miles into space, are nearly 200 times hotter than the visible surface of the sun, and yet aren't nearly as bright (by a factor of something like a million), hence, we can only see them during eclipses. I love the delicate beauty of this photo, and how it makes various features of the corona so plainly visible, like the difference in activity around its polar regions, as well as the dim, cratered surface of the moon. Ain't the universe purdy?
[Photo via Scientific American.]