Eiffel Tower Shape on the Sun Spotted by Photographer
Eiffel Tower replicas are popping up all over the place: Vegas, Pakistan, and now the surface of the Sun.
On Monday, Swedish astronomy photographer Göran Strand was shooting the Sun from his backyard when he noticed an odd shape erupting from it. He switched to a stronger telescope and proceeded to capture about a thousand images of the occurrence. He then shared his discovery on Twitter.
— Göran Strand (@Astrofotografen) August 17, 2015
Despite the uncanny resemblance, the shape is a solar prominence, not a celestial homage to the Eiffel Tower. A prominence occurs when loops of ionized gas, or plasma, protrude from the Sun’s surface. This particular one was large enough to engulf seven Earths.
The image Strand shared was stitched from 300 of his best shots in order to produce a clear view of the prominence. Astronomers and photographers like him use special filters that block out most light wavelengths except for those produced by burning hydrogen on the Sun’s surface. This results in a richer image quality, and saves photographers from frying their corneas by looking through a regular telescope. So if you're planning to search for solar activity that resembles iconic works of architecture, make sure to use the proper equipment.
[h/t: Popular Science]