The National Science Foundation (NSF) released the images of the Sun that show “unprecedented” details of its surface. The pictures are the first set of images captured by NSF’s Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope, which has been built to study the activity of the Sun, known as space weather.
The images of Sun show a pattern of turbulent “boiling” plasma that covers the entire star. We can see cell-like structures — each of which is the size of Texas — are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface. The hot solar plasma rises in the bright centres of “cells,” cools, then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection, the agency said.
“Since NSF began work on this ground-based telescope, we have eagerly awaited the first images,” said France Córdova, NSF director. “We can now share these images and videos, which are the most detailed of our sun to date.”
The agency said that the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope will enable a new era of solar science and a leap forward in understanding the sun and its impacts on our planet. The magnetic eruptions on the sun can impact air travel, disrupt satellite communications and bring down power grids, causing long-lasting blackouts and disabling technologies such as GPS, it said.
“NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope will be able to map the magnetic fields within the sun’s corona, where solar eruptions occur that can impact life on Earth. This telescope will improve our understanding of what drives space weather and ultimately help forecasters better predict solar storms,” Córdova said.
The NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope provides unprecedented close-ups of the sun’s surface, but ultimately it will measure the sun’s corona – no total solar eclipse required. 😎
— National Science Foundation (@NSF) January 29, 2020
The Inouye Solar Telescope has been built by NSF’s National Solar Observatory and managed by AURA at the 10,000-foot Haleakala summit on Hawaii’s Island of Maui. It sports a 4-meter mirror, which is the world’s largest for a solar telescope. But it will not just there to click pictures of the Sun. It will measure the sun’s corona without waiting for a total solar eclipse and map the sun’s surface and its atmospheric magnetic fields, especially the inner corona.
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