Our beautiful Sun

NASA has put on the artist's hat and created this gorgeous video of the Sun through a gradient filter.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

NASA has put on the artist's hat and created this gorgeous video of the Sun through a gradient filter.

As beautiful as it is, though, the video's purpose is not aesthetics, but science.

It was created with a gradient filter, with which you might be familiar with through image editing software such as Photoshop — but which has a different application to researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Center said in its explanation of the video:

Gradients are, in fact, a mathematical description that highlights the places of greatest physical change in space. A gradient filter, in turn, enhances places of contrast, making them all the more obviously different; a useful tool when adjusting photos. Scientists, too, use gradient filters to enhance contrast, using them to accentuate fine structures that might otherwise be lost in the background noise.

In this way, the researchers are able to examine the behaviours of the Sun in closer detail; here, you can see how gradients give definition to coronal loops — all the while enjoying a spectacular display set to music.

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