Infotainment

World’s largest solar telescope releases its first image of wide sunspot

World’s largest solar telescope releases its first image of wide sunspot
Dec 5 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/5/2020 1:03:09 PM IST

 The US National Science Foundation's Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, located in Hawaii, achieved a spatial resolution about 2.5 times higher than ever before – and the telescope is still in its final phases of completion. The image shows the dark center of the sunspot, which burns at 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit despite being cooler than the surrounding area. The entire sunspot measures about 10,000 miles across – large enough for the entire Earth to comfortably fit inside.

The Inouye solar telescope sits in Maui and was constructed specifically to uncover the Sun's explosive behavior. And even though it is not yet fully constructed, it is still powerful enough to capture up-close images of the blazing star.

Dr. Thomas Rimmele, the associate director at NSF's National Solar Observatory (NSO), said: 'The sunspot image achieves a spatial resolution about 2.5 times higher than ever previously achieved, showing magnetic structures as small as 20 kilometers on the surface of the sun.'

The US National Science Foundation's Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, located in Hawaii, achieved a spatial resolution about 2.5 times higher than ever before – and the telescope is still in its final phases of completion

Sunspots are a visual of the Sun's activity and the more there are on the surface, the more active the massive star is.

The Sun reached solar minimum, the time of fewest sunspots during its 11-year solar cycle, in December 2019 and the image snapped by Inoyue is one of the first sunspots of the new solar cycle, which is set to hit solar maximum in mid-2025.

Dr. Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), the organization that manages NSO and the Inouye Solar Telescope, said: 'With this solar cycle just beginning, we also enter the era of the Inouye Solar Telescope.' 

These events affect technological life on our planet such as power grids, communications, GPS navigation, air travel, satellites and humans living in space. Dr. David Boboltz, NSF Program Director for the Inouye Solar Telescope'While the start of telescope operations has been slightly delayed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 'This image represents an early preview of the unprecedented capabilities that the facility will bring to bear on our understanding of the Sun.'

(Stacy Liberatore for Dailymail.Com)

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