This picture of the Sun was taken on January 24, 1992. The image shows the Sun at X-ray wavelengths and it was recorded by the Soft X-ray Telescope on the Yohkoh (which means "Sunbeam" in Japanese) satellite. The bright areas are where the Sun's magnetic fields are strong enough to trap the very hot gases in the corona of the Sun. The fields are not strong enough to do this at the poles of the Sun. Notice that the surface of the Sun is dark: the X-rays Yohkoh records are from gases which are heated to millions of degrees. The surface of the Sun is much cooler than this, so it appears dark.
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The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman