A "Dancing" Layer of the Sun

Above the photosphere is a layer of gas, approximately 2000 km thick, known as the chromosphere or sphere of color. In the chromosphere energy continues to be transported by radiation. Hydrogen atoms absorb energy from the photosphere and most of the energy is then emitted as red light. The chromosphere is most easily viewed by filtering out all other wavelengths of light from the Sun and only letting the red light from the chromosphere through.

Views of the chromosphere show convective cell patterns similar to those in the photosphere, but much larger. This large scale convection is known as super-granulation.

Another interesting feature of the chromosphere is its jagged outer layer which is constantly changing. The motion is much like flames shooting up several thousands of kilometers and then falling again. These spiky, dancing flames are called spicules and can be seen in the image to the right.

Transition Region

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