March 22, 2013

The sun, as seen from a Wycombe garden (PICS)

It's the sun, as viewed from a back garden in High Wycombe: (Inset) Amateur solar-photographer Dave Tyler, 71, used a 5-inch refracting telescope equipped with a hydrogen-alpha solar filter
It's not bad for a picture taken in the back garden.

The sun’s fiery surface is captured in incredible detail from 93million miles away. 

The stunning shot was taken by  71-year-old Dave Tyler, a photographer and amateur astronomer.

Like many of us Mr Tyler has the odd pot plant and a shed in his back garden. But, where we might have the compost heap or a vegetable patch, he has installed a 5-inch refracting telescope, equipped with a hydrogen-alpha solar filter.

The filter allows him to safely observe and photograph the high-energy activity on our nearest star.

A side-no view of a plasma burst - known as a prominence when viewed from the side - captured in High Wycombe
Mr Tyler said: ‘When you look at the Sun you are looking at a star in high-magnification and detail – it is fascinating. It is about understanding our existence and our place in the solar system.’ 

David Tyler and the equipment he used to take pictures of the sun in High Wycombe
Mr Tyler, from High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, pieced together thousands of frames using computer software to create the picture.

Streaks of superheated plasma rising across the sun's surface - as seen from Wycombe
What appear to be bursts of flame are known as filaments – when huge masses of superheated plasma jump off the Sun’s surface. 

The telescope was fitted with a hydrogen alpha filter to capture these incredible shots from 93 million miles away
They are formed by short-lived magnetic loops hundreds of thousands of miles long that hold dense gas suspended thousands of miles above the 6,000C surface of the Sun. 

A detailed photograph of the sun with an apparent smile captured using a telescope fitted with a special filter in High Wycombe by amateur astronomer David Tyler
Mr Tyler photographed the Sun from February 15 to 19, but was unable to follow it any further because of cloudy weather.

The retired engineer, who lives with wife Wendy, a teacher, and son  Thomas, 18, has been a keen  astronomer for the last 40 years. 

A streak of superheated plasma across the surface of the sun - captured from a Wycombe back garden
He built his first telescope when  he was 29 and has been an  enthusiast ever since.

After taking the pictures, Mr Tyler pieced the images together like a jigsaw puzzle using computer software.
The filament appears etched on the surface of the sun but is actually far away from it, as the sideways photographs clearly show.

Dave Tyler uses computer software to piece together thousands of images taken from his back garden in Wycombe to produce this stunning portrait of the sun
When the filament is seen from the side like this - it is known as a prominence.

Mr Tyler said: 'Filaments occur when magnetic fields have snapped. 

Amateur solar-photographer Dave Tyler, 71
'This in turn causes the local hydrogen plasma to jump off the surface of the sun in a sweeping arc.'

The white 'clouds' around the filament are breaks in the magnetic field.

71 year-old David Tyler build his own observatory to house his five inch telescope
Dave, a retired CAD mechanical designer, imaged the sun over 5 days.

Nasa has also produced its own version of Dave's images - but relies on an orbiting spacecraft to capture its shots of activity on the sun's surface.

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