We had never seen the Sun so close. In Lower Hawa, the Daniel K. Inouye solar telescope has managed to take pictures of the surface of our canvas with a precision never before achieved. The smallest details that can be discerned are barely 30 kilometers away, precise CNN. It’s microscopic, because the diameter of this star is about 1.4 million km. The data from this telescope will be invaluable to NASA and the European Space Agency, which seek to learn more about the Sun and its role in space weather.
JUST RELEASED! First image from the @NSF‘s Inouye Solar Telescope, this is the highest resolution image of the Sun’s surface ever taken! # 2020SolarVision
It shows a pattern of boiling gas that covers the entire sun
Full image and more: https://t.co/jihfNGVcsR @NatSolarObs pic.twitter.com/UqgsBGhkHp
AURA (@AURADC) January 29, 2020
Looking at these images, one has the impression of seeing gold nuggets melting. In fact, these are convection cells, each about the size of France, and which are constantly changing. These structures are deformed, appear and disappear with the movements occurring under the surface of the Sun. The most luminous parts are those where the solar material rises, the heat so drawn to the surface. The darker areas are those where the plasma cools and sinks.
Formerly known by the acronym ASTS, the Daniel K. Inouye solar telescope will have taken six years to emerge from the ground and take its first photo. The aircraft is located 3084 m above sea level at the top of Mount Haleakala on the island of Maui. Its mirror, more than four meters in diameter, is capable of taking images of the Sun with a resolution of 20 km. To lift the veil on the mysteries of the Sun, we must be able to observe, more than 150 million kilometers, its smallest phenomena with clarity, declared Thomas Rimmele, director of the telescope, in a press release.