Whoa: The Most Detailed Images Of The Sun Ever Captured

January 30, 2020

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These are the most detailed images of the sun taken to date, captured by the National Science Foundation's recently completed Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope atop the summit of Haleakala, Maui, in Hawai'i. Some more info about just what the hell we're looking at, which apparently isn't unpopped popcorn:

The image shows a pattern of turbulent, "boiling" gas that covers the entire sun. The cell-like structures - each about the size of Texas - are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface. Hot solar material (plasma) rises in the bright centers of "cells," cools off and then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection. In these dark lanes we can also see the tiny, bright markers of magnetic fields. Never before seen to this clarity, these bright specks are thought to channel energy up into the outer layers of the solar atmosphere called the corona. These bright spots may be at the core of why the solar corona is more than a million degrees!

Fascinating. I can still remember the first time I looked at the sun through binoculars when I was a kid and couldn't see at night for two weeks. I also remember the first time I looked at a booger under a microscope. My point is, science: I've been doing it for a long time.

Keep going for a trippy gif of the sun in action. I think the devil tried to speak to me!

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Thanks to my buddy Closet Nerd, who agrees blasting your spaceship right into the sun is like walking on hot coals: it's only hot if you acknowledge it.

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