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Snapper captures solar flare twice the size of planet Earth

AN AMATEUR photographer captured an incredible solar flare erupting from the surface of the Sun that was so big planet Earth would fit inside the loop — TWICE.

Andrew McCarthy, 35, captured the solar prominence — a huge volume of solar mass rising from the star — on July 9.

The massive gaseous explosion is caught in a magnetic field creating the loop that is so big you could fit our blue planet inside it twice.

Gigantic: The Earth would fit in the loop twice

Andrew took the amazing shot using an astrophotography camera connected to a telescope.

Computer salesman Andrew has been obsessed about the cosmos since the age of eight, when his father showed him Saturn and Jupiter through his telescope.

Over the last two years, Andrew’s enthusiasm for cosmology has skyrocketed, leading him to spend thousands on specialist cameras which increase the quality by stacking the images, allowing them to be sharpened beyond what is visible through the atmosphere.

Big clicker: Andrew says he’s taken millions of photographs of our skies over the years
‘Addicted’: Andrew McCarthy and his telescope PICTURES: ANDREW McCARTHY/SWNS

Andrew, of Sacramento, California, USA, said: ‘I love our skies and want to get more people educated and see them through my eyes, which is why I upload them to Instagram.

‘I have been taking pictures of the sky since I was a kid, but have gotten more seriously into space watching since around 2017.

‘My dad showed me Saturn and Jupiter through his telescope when I was eight, and I never forgot how incredible it was.

The sky at night: The Trifid nebula, shot from Mono Lake, California

‘Ever since I’ve been addicted to learning as much as I can and sharing my passion.

‘I have taken millions of pictures. There is no real way to count unfortunately. On any given night I take sometimes 100,000 images to get one really good one.

‘I use varieties of cameras to take my shots, many of my shots are from several cameras combined to get the look I want.’

Photo-bombed: A turkey vulture flies in front of the Sun

Andrew uploads his pictures to Instagram account cosmic_background, where he has around 103,000 followers.

Other spacescapes include the Moon, Saturn, and distant galaxies.