No, these photographs weren't taken by an astrophysicist or whipped up in a special-effects lab. Photographer Larry Alvarez takes these pictures of the sun in his backyard using a camera, a telescope, and some homemade gear. With some tips from Alvarez, you can build your own solar telescope camera, too.

To get good images of the sun, you have to "take the law into your own hands," Alvarez writes. His site includes instructions on how to build a build a white light filter system out of cardboard and filter material, or a slightly fancier version made of plywood, glue and velcro. He also teaches how to convert your Coronado 60mm, 70mm or 90mm MaxScope telescope into a focuser for solar images. I love his workbench with the Rubik's cube next to his hacked telescope and camera equipment.

Flower Mound Observatory [Photographer's Website]