To our eyes, the sun is an intensely bright circle in the
sky that appears essentially white. If we pass the sun's light through a
prism or diffraction grating we see a continuous rainbow of colors. These
colors make up the visible white light from the sun. You can also see the
sun in other "colors" as it appears in visible, infrared, ultraviolet,
and X ray parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some examples are presented
below. Obviously, we cannot see X-rays, so this part of the spectrum must
be converted into something we can see. The same is true of the other parts
of the electro magnetic spectrum that we cannot detect with our eyes. The
sun looks a lot different when viewed through the "eyes" of instruments.
|Example of an X ray solar image. Click here
to see a QuickTime movie of this solar view (1.5 megs).
|Example of an ultraviolet solar image.
Image from SOHO
|Example of a visible image of the sun. A filter was used when capturing
Created 1997 The Exploratorium
Regents of the University of California