Breathtaking images of the sun’s surface released by NSF

Friday, 31 Jan, 2020

Images released by the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope on Hawaii show cell-like structures, which have been compared to the size of the U.S. state of Texas convecting as the Sun boils away.

This discovery was announced yesterday by researchers who captured photographs of the Sun's surface with unprecedented detail using the Daniel K. Inouye Solar (DKIS) Telescope in Maui, Hawaii. "Hot solar material (plasma) rises in the bright centers of 'cells, ' cools off and then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection". These collide with the Earth's magnetic field and create the Aurora here.

It was now set up in Hawaii and would allow researchers to gain a better understanding of the sun and the impact it had on the Earth.

Observations made by the Inouye Solar Telescope will help scientists study the behavior of the highly variable magnetic fields that flow through the sun's plasma.

NSF director France Cordova hailed the new footage as a significant step in understanding the sun, which directly impacts the Earth's weather with its violent solar storms and twisting magnetic fields. If the solar flare is big enough, it can affect communication systems on Earth. "As more instruments come online, this "Swiss Army Knife" of instrumentation will allow us to probe the finest details of the sun's magnetism". He said the current predictions lagged behind terrestrial weather by 50 years or more.

Andor Technology and the university led the development of a camera that was used in the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope.

To achieve the proposed science, this telescope required important new approaches to its construction and engineering. To stop the telescope from overheating and melting, a specialized cooling system transports excess heat away using seven miles of liquid-coolant piping. "For comparison, the previous largest publicly funded solar telescope could see features 160 kilometers (99 miles) in size, so that is more than a factor of five better".

The credits go to the Inouye telescope that packs unique resolution and sensitivity to capture the Sun's magnetic field.

The National Science Foundation, a U.S. federal agency focused on funding R&D, paid for the telescope, and it is managed by the National Solar Observatory (NSO). The National Science Foundation said Inouye was a great proponent of STEM and how it could enrich those in Hawaii.

While heralded by the scientific community, the Inouye Solar Telescope is perhaps the most controversial of the observatories atop Haleakala. It sits on Haleakala, the East Maui volcano.