Sydney Harbour Bridge on the Sun

Monty.NSO.HB
Monty Leventhal’s sketch (copyright Monty Leventhal ©, all rights reserved) of a loop prominence, that looks just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, compared to an image from the US National Solar Observatory taken a few hours later.

Monty Leventhal, OAM, is a regular solar observer and volunteer at Sydney Observatory. Every clear morning he observes the Sun.

This morning, Tuesday March 7, 2017 he sketched a “loop prominence”. These are common enough but this one looks remarkably like the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

For comparison, I’ve added an observation taken by the US National Solar Observatory (NSO). It’s an equivalent image to Monty’s sketch but was taken just over five hours later from Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The ‘bridge’ was still there. Their most recent images appear here. I reversed the NSO image (full image below) and rescaled and rotated the images to best show this Solar Harbour Bridge.

Mauna_Loa_H-Alpha
The Sun imaged in H-alpha light, i.e. at 656nm. Image by the National Solar Observatory and GONG.

Monty measured the ‘bridge’ to be about 130,000km long. At the legal speed limit, 70km/hr, it would take you 77 days to drive* across this bridge!

Monty is supported by the Donovan Astronomical Trust and is always looking for others to help monitor the Sun – one of the most dynamic objects to observe from Earth. You can contact Monty via the Sydney City Skywatchers.

Here is Monty’s full solar sketch for March 7, 2017: MontySun.07March2017

*Of course you would actually have to fly in a heat-protected spacecraft, something we don’t presently have the technology to achieve.

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