Your instinct might be to guess something microscopic in size – but the subject of this photograph is actually quite large.
NASA's sun-observing IRIS spacecraft has gotten its first close-up look at a colossal coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun, and boy howdy is it beautiful.
The Sun emits an impressive range of visible light. Some colors, however, are more strongly represented than others – while others are missing entirely.
At first glance, this incredible close-up of roiling solar prominences on the Sun's surface looks like footage captured by a Sun-observing spacecraft. In fact, they were shot from right here on Earth.
The last time you heard the term "gradient filter," it was probably in reference to a feature on a photo editing program, but scientists studying images and video collected by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory use gradient filters, too — often with absolutely mesmerizing results.
The White House has called for draconian cuts to NASA's budget, forcing the Agency to shelve undertakings that run the gamut from ambitious planetary missions to educational outreach.