Drawing inspiration from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
My hungry soul yearns for sunshine and sunlight. Meanwhile my inner artist draws inspiration from images captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – the most advanced spacecraft yet designed to study the sun. The SDO is designed to help us understand the sun’s influence on earth and near-earth space by studying the sun’s magnetic field and how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released in the form of solar wind and energetic particles.
The SDO has returned details of the sun that have never been seen before, including material streaming outward and away from sunspots, extreme close-ups of activity on the sun’s surface and the first high-resolution measurements of solar flares in a broad range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. These images are just incredible! Go take a look at http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov. While we see the sun as pretty much a big yellow ball, the SDO sees right into its heart and soul!
The sun is the primary reason we exist. Without it, we are nothing.
The sun lies at the heart of the solar system, where it is by far the largest object. It holds 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass, about 1.3 million Earths could fit inside the sun. You could line up 109 Earths across the face of the sun.
Its equatorial diameter and its polar diameter differ by only 6.2 miles (10 km). The mean radius of the sun is 432,450 miles (696,000 kilometers), which makes its diameter about 864,938 miles (1.392 million km). The sun’s circumference is about 2,713,406 miles (4,366,813 km). So that bright disk we see in our sky is pretty huge.
The visible part of the sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius), while temperatures in the core reach more than 27 million F (15 million C), driven by nuclear reactions. According to NASA, we would need to explode 100 billion tons of dynamite every second to match the energy produced by the sun. It has enough nuclear fuel to stay much as it is now for another 5 billion years. That is some energy source!
“Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens
with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.”
Beautiful words written by the Persian poet Hafiz. And there is such truth in those words. For billions of years the sun has given life to and protected the earth. Without the sun, we would simply not exist. Yet it asks nothing of our planet in return. Maybe it asks something of humanity, though. Maybe it asks us to care for this one and only home we have been gifted.
Recreating the energy of the sun
Images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory were the inspiration behind my Sun Saluations series of artworks. I hoped to capture the graceful turbulence of the sun’s surface using acrylics, mixed media, Pebeo Moon and Prisme paint and Polyfilla! Here are some close ups…
These three following are all from a painting titled Graceful Turbulence (now residing in Sweden), where I used Polyfilla to replicate the movement on the surface of the sun. Polyfilla is now one of my favourite mediums to create texture with 🙂