Science 3 min read

Scientists Captured the Most Detailed Sun Photo Ever Taken

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Day and night, the Sun provides power for life on Earth to be.

For centuries, scientists have accumulated a good deal of knowledge about the Sun. But, there’s a lot that we still don’t know about it.

At the moment, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which was launched in 2018, is on its way to touch the Sun.” It is a historic mission that will revolutionize our understanding of our home star.

But we still can observe the Sun from the ground and collect information with no less potential scientific significance.

A new ground-based solar telescope — the largest in the world — has just seen first light. On its first day observing the Sun, the telescope released a stunning sun photo.

Sun Photo

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is located on a volcano on the island of Maui in Hawaii. With its 13-feet-wide mirror and state-of-the-art instruments, DKIST is the biggest ground-based solar telescope in the world.

On its first day of operation, DKIST has released its first sun photos, and solar physicists are excited.

The image shows what scientists call “plasma cells,” which cover the entire solar surface giving it this grainy pattern.

The brighter parts are the hottest, where the plasma has just risen from within the Sun to its surface. On the other hand, the dark places are where plasma sinks back inside the Sun in a process known as solar convection.

Plasma cells shown in the video below are hundreds of kilometers across. The convection process appears a lot slower in reality because of the enormous size of the solar surface.

Here, it’s about 10 minutes condensed into 15 seconds for your viewing pleasure.

David Boboltz, a program director at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, said in a statement:

“The Inouye Solar Telescope will collect more information about our sun during the first five years of its lifetime than all the solar data gathered since Galileo first pointed a telescope at the sun in 1612.”

Physicists hope the DKIST observatory will help them unravel some of the biggest solar mysteries in the coming years.

The mechanism driving the turbulence of plasma on the Sun’s surface is still a big mystery that scientists want to clear up. The motion of electrically-charged plasma is linked to some of the Sun’s wildest phenomena, like solar storms.

Understanding how the solar magnetic fields work will help scientists better know when the Sun’s disturbed behavior would be dangerous.

This first sun photo is just the beginning for DKIST that’s technically still under construction. Run by the National Science Foundation, the telescope will be even more powerful in the coming months with the installation of two advanced infrared instruments.

Read More: The Sound of Earth During a Solar Storm Will Haunt Your Dreams

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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