See the Sun’s Surface Move-in ‘Unprecedented’ Detail

by Brigit Katz, Smithsonianmag.com

From our vantage point on Earth, the sun is often a miraculous sight, shining brightly on clear days and bathing the sky in vivid color as it rises and sets. This week, astronomers released stunningly detailed images of the sun’s surface—revealing that up close, the star is pretty spectacular, too.

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope has produced the highest resolution image of the sun’s surface ever taken. In this picture, taken at 789 nanometers (nm), we can see features as small as 30km (18 miles) in size for the first time ever. The image shows a pattern of turbulent, “boiling” gas that covers the entire sun. (NSO/AURA/NSF)

As Alexandra Witze reports for Nature, these are the first images taken with the National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, which sits atop Haleakala, a dormant volcano in Hawai‘i. The Inouye Solar Telescope is the most powerful solar telescope in the world, and according to the National Science Foundation (NSF), its images show the sun in “unprecedented” detail.

The celestial body looks like a bubbling expanse of golden kernels, which in fact represent plasma that covers the sun. The kernels—or “cell-like structures,” as the NSF puts it—are each about the size of Texas. Hot solar plasma rises up in the center of the cells and then cools, sinking down from the surface—“a process is known as convection,” the NSF notes.

The sun is a constant swirl of violent activity, burning around 5 million tons of hydrogen fuel every second. That energy radiates …

Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, two rescue pups, and two guinea pigs.

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