Our Beautiful Sun

Yesterday’s lecture in my AP World History class included the telling of the Mayan creation myth, the Popol Vuh. It’s a beautiful and unusual story that talks about the creation of the earth, of man, and of prayer. It’s also a story of the birth of the sun and the moon, when the twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, that are the protagonists of the narrative, successfully defeat the gods of Xibalba (the underworld), and ultimately become the sun and moon, to forever light the heavens and the earth. (You can see a beautiful animated film of the Popol Vuh here, I highly recommend it).

Now I’ve posted much about the moon, including these photographs by Laurant Laveder that I simply love, but nothing about the sun. While watching the film with my students today, however, I remembered having seen, sometime last year, a series of images of the sun that blew my mind. The photographer is Alan Friedman, and more of his amazing work can be found here.

The filters he uses create images where sun seems almost soft in texture, the colors are so rich and deep, and the prominences are downright stunning. Well, I’ll let you see for yourself. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…

One more thing. I’ve written about how difficult it is to get a sense of scale when looking at photographs of space. Before we get to the rest of the images, click here to see how the Earth relates to what we’re seeing..

Kind of looks like Bigfoot, doesn't it?

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11 thoughts on “Our Beautiful Sun

  1. How do you conceptualize distance? How do you communicate “93 million miles away” to your students? The universe is always mind-expanding as well as just plain expanding.

    • I find it sometimes ineffable. I try with analogy, image, etc. But at the end, I think the very fact that we struggle with conceiving of these astronomical distances, sizes, etc, tells us that we’re coming closer to understanding it. I don’t know if we’re really capable of it except on the most academic level.

  2. Awesome story, great pictures! The head of archaeology, Dr. Jaime Alwe thinks he may have found Xibalba in Belize, also known as A.T.M Cave, and visitors can descent the different levels of the cave, we are planning on a story on it very soon.

  3. Pingback: Oh, Maya Gods! | VoVatia

  4. Again, more awe inspiring photographs. We are so used to the general images of the sun–some big, hot ball in space–but these photos almost make it seem like a small organism. They remind me of beautifully taken magnified images of a tiny little thing depicted in science books.

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