Outer Atmosphere of the Sun
Left panel: eclipse of the Sun at solar maximum. Courtesy C.Cavadore from ESO and L. Bernasconi and B. Gaillard from Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur.
Right panel: Image of the solar corona from LASCO C2 onboard the SOHO ESA/NASA spacecraft, taken 20 June 2001 at 14:06 UT. LASCO (Large Angle Spectrometric CorOnagraph) is able to take images of the solar corona by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulter disk, creating an artificial eclipse within the instrument itself.
The position of the solar disk is indicated in the image by the white circle. The most prominent feature of the corona are usually the coronal streamers, those nearly radial bands that can be seen. Occasionally, a coronal mass ejection can be seen being expelled from the Sun and crossing the field of view. C2 images show the inner solar corona up to 8.4 million kilometres away from the Sun.