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New Images of the Sun Captured by Impressive New Telescope in Hawaii

by Alice Riddell on January 31st, 02020

NSO/NSF/AURA

In a piece for The New York Times, Dennis Overbye describes the remarkable images of the sun captured by the new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii. Our closest star, never before seen in such detail, now resembles a “boiling pot of popcorn” thanks to the 158 inches diametric primary mirror of the telescope:

Every second, thermonuclear reactions in the center of the Sun turn 5 million tons of hydrogen into pure energy. That energy makes its way outward, through boiling gas pocked with magnetic storms that crackle, whirl and lash space with showers of electrical particles and radiation.

Caught in striking detail, the sun’s face is divided into “kernels”: cell-like structures, each about the size of Texas, that carry heat from the inside of the sun to the outside. Hot gas rises in the bright centers of the cells, cools and then sinks back down in the dark lanes separating the cells.

Dennis Overby, The New York Times