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The most phenomenal close-up photos of the sun… Absolutely breathtaking!!

These are definitely the most amazing, phenomenal photos of the sun I have ever seen! Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York is an amateur astrophotography who captures amazing photographs of the sun through a telescope in his backyard. He uses special filters that allow the photos to be captured without destroying his camera or his eyes.  

These photos must be viewed in full size in order to truly appreciate the detail captured of the sun. Clicking on any image will open it in another tab. Click on the new image in the new tab one more time to enlarge to full size. You may scroll around the screen to view various parts of the photo. I never imaged the beauty and artistic quality the surface of the sun possesses. Beautiful swirls all fitting together with fascinating puffs of gas from the sunspots scattered about. Coronal Holes (areas where the sun’s corona is darker, and colder, and has lower-density plasma than average) photographed with magnificent detail – they remind me of polarity poles which exist on planets.

Without further ado…. Here is a full image of the sun with color. The full size image is 1800 x 1853.

astrophotography sun photos 0 full sun high resolution large image


Here is the same image in black and white, full size is 2211 × 2122, and was featured in Discover:

astrophotography sun photos 0 full sun high resolution large image black and white


Friedman refers to this next image as a photo of the “pachydermosphere,”  which is “a little known region above the atmosphere of the sun where elephants roam.” Do you see the elephant? Use a little bit of nephelococcygia and you will see the elephant. Full size is 1309 × 1071, and was featured in SpaceWeather website.

astrophotography sun photos 0 PACHYDERMOSPHERE where elephants roam


Next is Friedman’s image that was featured as the Astronomy Picture of the Day on March 14, 2012. Full size is 1080 × 823.

astrophotography sun photos 4 close up astronomy photo of the day image


The next two are photos that capture the transit of the International Space Station. Friedman describes the day he took these images:

I drove to the Winter Star Party for the steady skies, warm temperatures and the company of good astronomy friends. But when I heard that the ISS would transit the sun nearby, (thank you Alan Traino) I had to give it a try. I was scheduled to give my talk 12:30-1:30 – the transit centerline was 69 minutes later, 20 miles to the north on Marathon.With help from Brian Shelton and Mark Beale, I finished my talk, jumped into the car with solar imaging gear and we got set up just in time to catch it. I underestimated the narrowness of this event. We were about 5000 feet south of the centerline in a good location… another 500 feet and we would have missed it entirely. Lucky day! The space shuttle Discovery, on its final mission for NASA, is docked to the ISS.

Full size is 1099 × 1099.

astrophotography sun photos 8 earth satellite ISS transit


Full size is 1154 × 1154.

astrophotography sun photos 9 earth satellite ISS transit


Here are a variety of other photos and close-up images.

astrophotography sun photos 7 sun burst close up


astrophotography sun photos 6 close up looks like pole


astrophotography sun photos 5 sillouette


astrophotography sun photos 3 closeup gas sun burst


astrophotography sun photos 2 black and white high resolution


astrophotography sun photos 1 color


astrophotography sun photos 1 color 2


astrophotography sun photos 1 close up sun burst gas


Please check out Alan Friedman’s website, Averted Imagination.

And his Tumblr page, too.

Alan Friedman


  1. Some of these, seen out of context, could be mistaken for microscopic images of mold spores or dust particles.

    I don’t see an elephant (presumably the larger shape) nearly as clearly as I see two cats lying side by side in the smaller shape.

    Thanks for posting these. I had passed over some headline about backyard photos of the sun, thinking some kid had probably taken some photos of his crude pinhole images!

    • That’s why they look like! I knew something microscopic, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Glad you checked them out. Yeah, the backyard should not be in the title but in the description. I know the author just wanted to point out that some of the best pictures were taken by an amateur in his backyard, but the title scares people away.

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