At first glance, this incredible close-up of roiling solar prominences on the Sun's surface looks like footage captured by a Sun-observing spacecraft. In fact, they were shot from right here on Earth.

This footage was captured by amateur astrophotog Michel Collart. In an interview with Universe Today, the French-based astronomer says he's been imaging the Sun for about 15 years, but that this is the first time he’s been able to image solar prominences.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

A size comparison, prepared by Collart, visualizes the vastness of the solar activity seen in the above animation, which takes place on a relatively small patch of the Sun's surface:


Learn more – including a video of the prominences in action, and details on Collart's photographic setup – over at Universe Today.