US Telescope Captures Sun's Surface in Highest Detail Yet

A cropped section of the Inouye Solar Telescope’s first light image of the Sun's surface

A cropped section of the Inouye Solar Telescope’s first light image of the Sun's surface

The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) in Hawaii has released pictures that show features as small as 30km across the sun, reported the BBC.

Scientists that operated the telescope said that the unprecedented detail demonstrates the power of the telescope based on the ground for mapping the magnetic fields within the corona of the Sun, where solar eruptions occur impacting life on Earth.

A pattern of turbulent, "boiling" gas is shown covering the sun, which is some 93 million miles from Earth. When they twist and tangle because of the moving plasma, massive solar storms can take place that are able to knock out our Earthly power grids.

Astronomers believe the telescope, which belongs to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, will usher in a new era of solar science and help unlock the mysteries of the Sun and its impacts on Earth.

This image captured by the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii is the highest-resolution image of the Sun's surface ever taken according to the National Science Foundation

A new telescope built to study the Sun has released its first images, and they are just breathtaking.

Solar wind streams out from the sun, flinging energetic particles across the solar system.

While we can't look at the sun with the naked eye, or get anywhere near it in space, science has found ways to study it, and even photograph it, from Earth.

"Our predictions lag behind terrestrial weather by 50 years, if not more".

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It was originally known as the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, and was renamed in the honour of the late Senator Daniel Inouye in December 2013.

With its suite of state-of-the-art instruments, some of which are yet to come online, the telescope will be able to measure and characterise these magnetic fields better than we have ever done before.

For most of us, the Inouye Solar Telescope just means some really cool imagery.

The new telescope can capture the intricacies of the sun's tiny panels of electromagnetic energy in greater detail than ever before.

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In fact, the resolution of images produced by the telescope, located atop Haleakalā volcano on the island of Maui, is said to be more than twice that of other solar observatories. The National Science Foundation believes that the super-powerful telescope is capable of contributing far more to Astrophysics in the first five years of its lifetime.

UH Maui College was also awarded a $20-million grant from the National Science Foundation, to engage Native Hawaiian students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

While the 4-meter solar telescope isn't set to be completed until June, scientists will continue preliminary tests by making observations of the Sun in the coming months.

Lesser storms can impact navigation systems and communication on Earth too. NSF recognizes and acknowledges the very significant cultural role and reverence that this site has to the Native Hawai'ian community.

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