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NASA Released This Stunning Picture Of The Sun Just Before Christmas

It was taken by a telescope searching for black holes.

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On December 22, NASA released this incredible picture of the sun taken by one of its telescopes.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

The image was captured by the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, otherwise known as NuSTAR.

The telescope was launched into space in 2012 to help record black holes and other objects outside the solar system.

However, it has turned its gaze towards the sun and produced the most sensitive solar portrait ever taken in high-energy X-rays, NASA said.

Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said:

At first I thought the whole idea was crazy.

Why would we have the most sensitive high energy X-ray telescope ever built, designed to peer deep into the universe, look at something in our own back yard?

However, she was convinced to do so by David Smith, a solar physicist and member of the NuSTAR team at UC Santa Cruz.

He explained: "NuSTAR will give us a unique look at the sun, from the deepest to the highest parts of its atmosphere."

The image above shows the observations made by NuSTAR overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

The green and blue sections are solar high-energy emissions captured by NuSTAR, and the red part represents ultraviolet light captured by the SDO, NASA revealed.

Richard James is acting head of news for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at richard.james@buzzfeed.com.

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