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  loops - the tangled Sun
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  what are coronal loops?
  zooming in on loops with TRACE
  why do we see loops?
  what have we learnt from TRACE?

loops - the tangled Sun


Hi, my name is Lyndsay. I live and work in Scotland. I'd like to show you some of the latest ultraviolet images of the Sun's atmosphere (the corona) made with a telescope on board a spacecraft called TRACE.


TRACE looks at the atmosphere of the Sun in great detail. These details show us exactly what the magnetic field of the Sun is doing.

TRACE shows us a very different view of the Sun to the one we are used to here on Earth.


You might think that the Sun's atmosphere is just a dull, fairly fuzzy ball of fire. If you were to study the Sun's surface in ordinary visible light, that's more or less what you'd see, but that's not what TRACE sees!

What does an apple fo when it gets sunburnt? - It peels!


Trace Logo


What does T.R.A.C.E stand for? -Transition, Region, And Coronal, Explorer


Sun image from TRACE


The ultraviolet light which created these images is produced by plasma at one million degrees (1,000,000°C).


Here's a close-up view of a tangle of loops as well as bright spots and spikey featuresmouse over arrow.


Because it can see very fine detail on the Sun, TRACE is said to have high resolution.
Images from other spacecraft that have lower resolution look blurred and fuzzy in comparison. TRACE rules!




Our eyes can't see ultraviolet radiation, so an image of ultraviolet radiation has to be shown in 'false colour' - that just means we can use any colour we like.


This image is a false-colour picture of the Sun, we just like the look of it in blue! Here are some other false colour pictures. Actually they are all the same image. We've just chosen to use different colours for each one.


False colour photos of the Sun


Have a go at this game, which illustrates the effect higher resolution can have on an image. Click on the arrows under the photos to increase the resolution. At what stage can you guess who the famous person is?




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