Most of us grew up with adults, much wiser than our young selves, telling us not to stare directly into the sun. While that is certainly sound life advice, you might want to take a step back and ignore for a little bit, at least in a manner of speaking. These photographs of the surface of the sun are stunning, so you should take a few moments out of your day to gawk at them. Don’t worry, doing this won’t negatively impact your vision in the slightest.
These images come from amateur astronomer Alan Friedman, and aside from them being absolutely breathtaking, there’s one fact that really, truly makes these pictures special. They were taken from Friedman’s flipping back yard. The guy designs greeting cards, that’s his day job, but at night he hangs out at his Buffalo, NY home, snapping pictures of the night sky.
According to his artist’s statement, he thinks of these photographs as “a solar diary, portraits of a moment in the life of our local star.” He uses what he calls a small telescope—knowing nothing about telescopes, I have no idea what that means—and filters that allow only a small sliver of the deep red of the color spectrum to “capture details in high resolution and record movements in the solar atmosphere that change over hours and sometimes minutes.”
Originally captured in black and white, he spends hours adding color and altering tone to bring out the fine details of the Sun. In his images, the churning surface of our star looks serene and still.