Astrophotographer Captures Massive Explosion on the Sun’s Surface

Explosion of plasma on the Sun

Chuck Ayoub was trying out a new filter on his telescope camera when he captured a huge explosion on the surface of the Sun.

The remarkable eruption took place over a 40-minute period, but Ayoub sped it up to just 3.2 seconds in the video he shared online.

“I thought it was going to be a quiet day on the Sun – I wasn’t expecting this,” exclaims Ayoub, on his Instagram account.

Ayoub was trying out his new DayStar Quark (chromosphere) solar filter attached to the end of an Explore Scientific AR102 telescope with a ZWO ASI174MM mono camera fixed onto it. The Detroit, Michigan native also uses an Astronomik L3 UV-IR energy rejection filter.

The flareup occurred at such speed and force that despite capturing a huge number of shots at a two-second interval, Aroub still failed to get a truly smooth timelapse from it.

“I should have shortened the intervals. I slowed this down to 18 frames per second instead of the usual 24 fps to try and see it better,” he wrote on Reddit.

Ayoub has been an astrophotographer for six years and has been capturing the Sun for about four years. Speaking to PetaPixel, he explains why the Sun is such a great subject.

“Capturing the Sun is always interesting because compared to my deep space imaging, where I know what to expect, the Sun is very dynamic and who knows what will happen next.”

To explain better contextualize the scale, the explosion that Ayoub captured would be big enough to envelop the entirety of planet Earth — in fact, it would encase the human race three times over with its hot plasma.

Solar flares are the largest explosive events in our solar system, and they have the potential to affect Planet Earth and can spark geomagnetic storms. Recently, the Sun has unleashed many solar flares, with intense bursts of radiation arising from the explosive releases of magnetic energy. In January, photographer Andrew McCarthy captured a large plasma plume exploding from the surface that resembled a tree.

In April, the Sun unleashed its most powerful solar flare seen in five years and scientists have noted that it is having a particularly active period.

Ayoub also captured a giant storm on the Sun back in 2020, where hot plasma is seen rising and falling at the same time in an ongoing battle between changing magnetic fields.

Conditions need to be right for Ayoub’s pictures, considering he is capturing an object that is 93 million miles away; the atmosphere and other factors can often get in the way of a clean shot.

More from Ayoub can be found on his Instagram.

Image credits: Header photo by Chuck Ayoub.