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Gradient Sun

Watching a particularly beautiful movie of the sun helps show how the lines between science and art can sometimes blur. But there is more to the connection between the two disciplines: science and art techniques are often quite similar, indeed one may inform the other or be improved based on lessons from the other arena. One such case is a technique known as a "gradient filter" — recognizable to many people as an option available on a photo-editing program. Gradients are, in fact, a mathematical description that highlights the places of greatest physical change in space. A gradient filter, in turn, enhances places of contrast, making them all the more obviously different, a useful tool when adjusting photos. Scientists, too, use gradient filters to enhance contrast, using them to accentuate fine structures that might otherwise be lost in the background noise. On the sun, for example, scientists wish to study a phenomenon known as coronal loops, which are giant arcs of solar material constrained to travel along that particular path by the magnetic fields in the sun's atmosphere. Observations of the loops, which can be more or less tangled and complex during different phases of the sun's 11-year activity cycle, can help researchers understand what's happening with the sun's complex magnetic fields, fields that can also power great eruptions on the sun such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections.

The images here show an unfiltered image from the sun next to one that has been processed using a gradient filter. Note how the coronal loops are sharp and defined, making them all the more easy to study. On the other hand, gradients also make great art. Watch the movie to see how the sharp loops on the sun next to the more fuzzy areas in the lower solar atmosphere provide a dazzling show.

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Gradient Sun Video  To watch this video on the NASAexplorer YouTube Channel, click here .   

Gradient Sun Video

For complete transcript, click here.

To watch this video on the NASAexplorer YouTube Channel, click here.
Duration: 2.5 minutes
Available formats:
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         2 GB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) WMV         89 MB
  720x480 (29.97 fps) WMV         87 MB
  960x540 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   74 MB
  640x360 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   29 MB
  320x240 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   15 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) QT         92 MB
  1920x1080 PNG           3 MB
  960x540 (29.97 fps) WEBM         35 MB
  320x180     PNG           138 KB
How to play our movies

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11112
Animation Number:11112
Completed:2012-10-18
Producer:Genna Duberstein (USRA)
Series:Narrated Movies
 Solar Snapshots
Goddard TV Tape:G2012-107 -- Gradient Sun
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
 
Keywords:
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Solar Ultraviolet
SVS >> Solar Wind
SVS >> Sun
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions
SVS >> Space Weather
SVS >> SDO
SVS >> Solar Dynamics Observatory
SVS >> Heliophysics
SVS >> Corona
SVS >> Gradient
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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