VSL:SCIENCE // Stare at the sun safely

Photos of the sun have been floating around the Internet for years now, but nothing we’ve seen matches this 21-shot array: The star dazzles, of course, but it also surprised us with unexpected forms and textures.

At first, the gallery seems to present high-end looks at the usual suspects: coronas, eclipses, and sunspots, as rendered by the world’s most powerful telescopes. But some of the images are filtered to reveal specific magnetic structures — filaments, flares, furlike contours — that come and go with the sun’s cycles of activity. Fun fact: Those cycles are approximately 11 earth years in duration, and they appear to affect everything from the price of wheat to the flow of the Paraña — an immense South American river whose rise and fall coincide with sunspot activity.

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VSL:SCIENCE // Stare at the sun safely