A new telescope has captured and revealed the image of our Sun’s stormy and rough surface in an unparalleled detail like never before!! The exceptionally detailed and close-up images of the sun have been captured by the Inouye solar telescope in Hawaii. The world’s largest solar telescope features a four-meter mirror located at the 3,000-meter (10,000 feet) summit of the Haleakalā volcano on the island of Maui.
The astounding images have unveiled the previously hazy hidden formation of Sun’s exterior into a sharp focus of the spotlight. The images have disclosed granule-like structures on the sun surface, apparently just like some nuggets of gold. The estimated size of each granular structure is that of France!! The epicenter of each granule has brighter spots, whereas the surroundings of granules have a dark, shadowy area. The bright spots are the superheated (to almost 6000 Degree Celsius) columns of plasma, on the other hand, the shadowy areas have a lesser temperature where the plasma falls down below the surface.
“These are the highest resolution images of the solar surface ever taken,” added Thomas Rimmele, the director of the Inouye solar telescope project. He added, “What we previously thought looked like a bright point – one structure – is now breaking down into many smaller structures.“
The biggest hurdle while operating the telescope was maintaining it’s primary mirror at ambient temperature while it headed directly towards the sun. Any temperature deviation can cause air turbulence that is enough to distort the image quality. The fierce heat generated at the mirror’s focal point can rapidly melt the metal. So, a huge supply of coolants was required to keep the whole telescope operating in proper condition.
The complex detailing of images will help scientists to understand the activity on the sun even better. Magnetic eruptions on the sun and the solar flares can impact air-speed on earth, distort satellite communications and bring down power grids causing long-lasting blackouts and disabling technologies such as GPS. Hence, space weather is one of the most significant factors determining the weather of the Earth. Thus, the images will open a new arena to understand the physics of the Sun which will significantly improve the ability to predict space weather.