These remarkably detailed images of the Sun mark a ‘new era of solar physics’


The Daniel-K.-Inouye solar telescope, located in Hawaii, has entered into service. It was inaugurated at the end of August, and the research institute
National Solar Observatory
(NSO) marked the occasion by publishing two spectacular views of the Sun.

The NSO claims that the Inouye telescope is the most powerful in the world, capable of observing the
Sun at an extreme level of detail. ” A new era of solar physics begins said Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).

One of the images, which looks like animal fur, shows the chromosphere, which is the Sun’s lower atmosphere. The image covers an area 82,500 kilometers in diameter. The NSO has also released a version with the Earth superimposed to give an idea of ​​scale.

Inouye promises to bring us a new and deeper understanding of our star. ”
His insights will transform how our nation and the planet forecast and prepare for events such as solar storms.
said Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the National Science Foundation, which funds the telescope.

Better understand the activity of the Sun

A second image taken on June 3 shows the surface of the
Sun. This view looks more regular than the chromosphere, but it’s just as weird, like looking at sand under a microscope.

Earth has a complex relationship with its star. Indeed, the Sun has been particularly bright lately, triggering flares that can cause beautiful aurora borealis, but can also disrupt spacecraft and satellites. Inouye could become a kind of whistleblower, helping us understand the movements and jolts of the Sun, as well as the impact it can have on our planet.


CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: NSO/AURA/NSF

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