Incredible Sun Image Showing Solar Tornado that’s Over 75,000 Miles Tall

Sun image with solar tornado

Astrophotographers Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel teamed up to produce this stunning image of the Sun with a solar tornado spinning off it that’s as tall as 14 Earths.

McCarthy captured over 200,000 images and worked with Guenzel over five days on the data to create the 140-megapixel picture.

The pair managed to get an unprecedented level of detail into their photo which McCarthy says is his “most detailed Sun picture.”

solar tornado
Cropped version of the image showing the solar tornado that’s over 75,000 miles tall


“A blend of science and art, this photo combined over 90,000 images meticulously layered and processed to reveal our star in a way you’ve never seen before,” McCarthy writes on Twitter.

“A geometrically altered image of the 2017 eclipse was used as an artistic element in this composition to display an otherwise invisible structure. Great care was taken to align the two atmospheric layers in a scientifically plausible way using NASA’s SOHO data as a reference.”

McCarthy explains to PetaPixel that the “invisible structure” is the solar corona that is only visible from Earth when there is a solar eclipse.

“The shape and position were altered and matched to NASA coronograph data captured from space for accuracy,” he adds.

Tight crop of the Sun

Solar Tornado

McCarthy, like many other astronomers, pointed his telescope to the huge solar tornado that hurled a plasma cloud off the Sun last weekend.

According to Space, the solar twister reached a height of around 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) which is the height of 14 Earths. 

McCarthy posted a timelapse video of the enormous solar tornado. 


Guenzel, who collaborated on the 140-megapixel image with McCarthy, called it “a melding of art, science, and the technique of two astrophotographers. The duo call their creation: Fusion of Helios

sun surface

“We assembled a mosaic, composite shot to visualize many different elements that would otherwise be impossible to photograph together,” he explains on Twitter.

“From the carefully modeled corona based on solar eclipse photos to the fluffy intricacies in the chromosphere, there’s a lot here to enjoy!”

More of McCarthy’s work can be found on his website, Twitter, and Instagram. More of Guenzel’s work can be found on his Twitter and website.

Image credits: Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel.