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Stunning Sun-Breathtaking images of Solar surface

 The swirling maelstrom of the sun, pictured in outstanding detail during the Transit of Venus by one dedicated space enthusiast

Venus flashes by the sun, all captured by Alan Friedman at Mount Wilson
It is difficult to think of the sun as anything more than how we view it from Earth - a great, bright ball, uniform in appearance as it placidly heats our planet.
But seen in close-up, the view is startling - a raging sea of fire, as the hydrogen fuel of the sun burns away in a five-billion-year explosion.
The artistic, and out-of-this-world photographs were taken by sun enthusiast and solar photographer Alan Freidman, from the Mount Wilson Observatory near Los Angeles, California.

Far from being the placid, uniform ball we see each day, the sun is a raging and turbulent ball of flames   
Alan set up his solar equipment at Mount Wilson the day before the Transit of Venus and ran a test to make sure that everything had survived the trip and was working well

 Alan, described as a 'master of solar photography' by Discovery News, took this first image a day before the transit of Venus earlier this month.
He was preparing his equipment in advance of the transit, and his practice runs led to these stunning images.
What we see here are the mingling of the upper layers of the sun - known as the photosphere and chromosphere.
The chromosphere is an amazing 2,000km deep - although this is still just a pinch of the sum's total diameter at 1,380,000km - more than 110 times that of the Earth.
As it is less dense than the Earth's atmosphere, it is basically invisible, although it is responsible for the swirling patterns we see here.
But then came the big event - Venus travelling across the face of the sun, as seen from Earth, and Alan captured this wonderful shot, with the planet silhouetted against the swirling maelstrom of activity.
The transit will not happen for another 105 years - so it is important for posterity that photographers like Alan, as well as NASA and other observatories, captured these fantastic moments.

Alan, who works in design, said: 'I set my solar equipment up at Mount Wilson the day before the Transit of Venus and ran a test to make sure that everything had survived the trip and was working well.
'The seeing was superb... definitely the best of the visit and among the best solar conditions I've ever experienced.
This image shows a full capture size with the new Grasshopper Express 6 megapixel camera, with my Astro-Physics Stowaway refractor and Solarmax 90 filter, working at a focal length of .9 meters.'
For more of Alan's stunning work, visit his blog, Averted Imagination, here.

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