Astrophotographers Reveal an Amazing 90,000 Image Composite of the Sun

In 2017, this photographer bought his first telescope. Today, he and fellow colleagues connect millions of people to the stars through their photos.

By: THURSD. | 19-04-2023 | 4 min read
Astrophotography reveals the suns power header

Astrophotographers Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel recently collaborated to create a breathtaking view of the sun that highlights its atmosphere's complex, flaming intricacies. 

Astro Work ‘Fusion of Helios’ Shows Spectacular Images of the Sun

'Fusion of Helios' is a stunning high-resolution photograph of the sun taken by astrophotographers Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel. The image shows the sun's surface in incredible detail, with swirling plasma and dark sunspots visible in intricate patterns. To get a scientifically plausible look at it, both photographers used NASA’s SOHO data as a reference to geometrically transform Jason’s 2017 eclipse photo to match the features. The result is a blend of science and art, and McCarthy's favorite piece of work he's been part of.


Astrophotographers reveal an amazing ninety thousand image composite
Photo by @cosmic_background and @thevastreaches


The photograph was created by stacking multiple images taken with a specialized telescope and camera setup, which allowed McCarthy to capture the sun's surface in extreme detail. He then processed the images using advanced software to create the final composite image, which astronomy enthusiasts have widely shared and admired.

The name 'Fusion of Helios' references the sun's nuclear fusion process, which powers the star and creates the light and heat we receive on Earth, and the Greek god Helios, who was associated with the sun in ancient mythology.


The power of the sun photographed by Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel
Photo by @cosmic_background and @thevastreaches


What the Sun Does for the World

We're fortunate to have the sun. We would not exist without it! But it also provides photographers and astronomy lovers in general with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: the capacity to study a star in great detail.

Other stars are so far away that viewing surface details on them is nearly impossible (a few rare outliers notwithstanding). While the sun is still 93 million miles away, it is close enough for a powerful telescope to analyze its properties. So, how did these two talented photographers capture these powerful sun images? 


Closeup of suns strands and heat
Photo by @cosmic_background and @thevastreaches


There are mylar filters that you may wear like sunglasses to safely view the sun through a telescope, McCarthy shares. This is analogous to a very effective neutral density filter that consistently filters the majority of the sunlight, revealing it as a faint disc in a huge black sky. These are only intended to function without any additional optics. 

Similarly, identical filters can be placed over the aperture end of a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Do not put these on and look through binoculars or a telescope; the concentrated sunlight will burn a hole through them. They MUST be put in front of the aperture before sunlight enters the optics. This allows you to see all of the sunspots in great detail!


Fusion of Helios by Jason Guenzel
Photo by Jason Guenzel from @thevastreaches


To know more in detail about how McCarthy photographs different planets and his procedures, make sure to give the Cosmic Background website a glimpse.

What Is Astrophotography?

Astrophotography is the practice of taking photographs of celestial objects such as stars, planets, galaxies, and nebulae. This type of photography often requires specialized equipment and techniques to capture the faint light emitted by these objects. Astrophotographers may use telescopes, cameras, and other imaging tools to capture images of the night sky.


Learn all about astrophotography
Photo by Andrew McCarthy from @cosmic_background


The resulting photographs can be used for scientific research or as works of art. Astrophotography is a fascinating field that allows us to capture and appreciate the beauty of the cosmos. McCarthy shares that solar astronomy is dangerous, and a mistake could leave you blind, the reason why they do their work in an extremely careful manner.

More About Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel

Andrew McCarthy is an astrophotographer who has gained a significant following on social media for his stunning images of the Moon, planets, and deep space objects. He is based in California and uses specialized equipment and software to capture and process his images. McCarthy has been featured in numerous publications, including National Geographic and Astronomy magazine, and his work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States.


Andrew McCarthy astrophotographer
Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy.
Photo: Adam Mason


Jason Guenzel is an astrophotographer based in Minnesota who specializes in capturing images of the night sky and auroras. He uses a variety of cameras and lenses to capture stunning images of the Milky Way, the Northern Lights, and other celestial objects. Guenzel's work has been featured in publications such as National Geographic and The New York Times, and he has won numerous awards for his photography. He also shares his knowledge and expertise through workshops and online tutorials for aspiring astrophotographers.


Astrophotographer Jason Guenzel
Astrophotographer Jazon Guenzel.
Photo: The Vast Reaches


Get yourself on board for the most fabulous sun adventure of your life because truly, there's nothing like these eye-catching, glorious photos.


Photos by @cosmic_background and @thevastreaches.



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