Mesmerising images of the Sun’s surface released

Date:30 January 2020 Author: Leila Stein Tags:,

The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope has released new images that show detailed features of the suns surface.

The new telescope built to study the star at the centre of our planet released its first images, which when put together create a kaleidoscope-like video of the moving surface.

“It is literally the greatest leap in humanity’s ability to study the Sun from the ground since Galileo’s time. It’s a big deal,” said Professor Jeff Kuhn of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy in a statement.

The pictures show features on the sun as small as 30km across.

The cell-like structures seen are roughly the size of Texas in the US at up to 1,600 km across and are convecting hot, excited gas or plasma. The bright centres are where this solar material is rising; the surrounding dark lanes are where plasma is cooling and sinking.

The purpose of the telescope is to study the solar storms which effect communication and navigation systems here on Earth. Improving our ability to predict space weather, such as these storms is extremely limited and this telescope aims to help improve that.

“On Earth, we can predict if it is going to rain pretty much anywhere in the world very accurately, and space weather just isn’t there yet,” said Matt Mountain of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, which manages the Inouye Solar Telescope.

Image: NSO/AURA/NSF

 

 

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