Viewing the Sun through different eyes

solar filter wheel

Much like the Earth, the Sun has many different layers that define its structure. Unlike the Earth, the Sun is completely gaseous; there is no solid surface on the Sun. Although the Sun is completely made of gas, the density and temperature of the gas changes drastically as you travel from the outermost regions to the center.

Scientists look at different layers of the Sun by using telescopes with different filters. The filter wheel on board the Yohkoh solar telescope is much like the filter wheel you constructed earlier in this lesson. By rotating one wheel with a window the telescope operators are able to select the type of filter they want to use to view the Sun. These solar filters can sort out many kinds of radiation, not just colored light.

In the image below you can see the filter wheel is located near the back of the soft x-ray telescope on board the Yohkoh satellite.


Our Sun emits radiation in almost every wavelength. In addition to the visible light we can detect with our eyes, the Sun also emits radio waves, infrared and ultraviolet radiation as well as x-rays and gamma rays. Lucky for us we can focus in on a specific layer of the Sun by using a filter to remove all but one type of radiation.

Let's look at the sun as seen through many different filters.

Why Use Filters? Filters Lesson The Filtered Sun