By now you might be used to spectacular images of celestial bodies thanks to organizations like NASA and the ESA. But it's still possible to be wowed by these images, especially when they're taken by people like you and me.

Citizen astronomer Alan Friedman takes breathtaking photographs of the sun's roiling surface from his backyard in Buffalo, NY. Armed with a 10" telescope and a couple critical filters, he is able to gaze directly at the sun while filming with the same video cameras that snag your license plate number if you run a red light (nice to know they have redeeming value, eh?). He then goes back through his video footage frame by frame and cherry picks the best stills - a process he calls lucky imaging - and colorizes them to make spectacular prints.

Turn your gaze skyward!

An exhibit of Friedman's images, Into The Light, opens today, September 15, in Southern California at the Orange County Great Park Gallery. The show runs through December 31, 2013.

More spectacular images at Friedman's website, Averted Imagination, and on Tumblr.

Friedman at Tedx Buffalo

Prints for sale


Every day in the month of September, we are serving up a different science artist for your viewing pleasure. Can’t get enough? Check out what was featured on this day last year: Night Growl: a comic by the adored, the feared, the sci-ence funny guy: comic Maki Naro!