Contact: Christine Pulliam
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Caption: This photo of the sun's edge, taken with the Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, shows coronal loops in a variety of sizes. Although the loops appear to have a constant width, like strands of rope, new work suggests that this is an optical illusion. The loops are actually tapered, wider at the top and narrower at the bottom.
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Related news release: Sun's loops are displaying an optical illusion