Although our Sun is only a medium-sized star, it’s still large enough to harbor 1.3 million planets the size of Earth inside it. It’s much larger even than Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar System. The Sun has a diameter of about 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles), and it accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass in our Solar System. The enormous size of our Sun enables it to generate a tremendous amount of gravitational pull, which keeps the planets and other celestial bodies revolving around it.
ScienceAlert reveals that the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope has unveiled mesmerizing views of the Sun’s surface, showcasing intricate details of sunspots, convective cells, and plasma motion with great clarity. The images captured at a resolution of roughly 20 kilometers reveal plasma structures resembling brushstrokes on a canvas. The scale is awe-inspiring, with a single solar convection cell is comparable in size to the state of Texas.
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope released eight new images of the Sun https://t.co/uNtXAWxhBg
— Sabine Hossenfelder (@skdh) May 20, 2023
These groundbreaking images provide a glimpse into future scientific exploration, allowing astronomers to analyze and understand the processes occurring on the surface of the Sun. Sunspots, larger than our planet and associated with powerful magnetic fields, offer insight into solar activity cycles and are linked to eruptions such as coronal mass ejections and solar flares. Understanding such cycles and sunspot dynamics is extremely important since they can impact Earth’s magnetic field and disrupt our technological infrastructure. The observations from the Inouye telescope also shed light on the complex structures within sunspots, including the umbra and penumbral filaments.
Additionally, the telescope captures the intriguing features of convection cells, showcasing the popcorn-like texture of the solar surface. The solar atmosphere reveals dark fibrils or spicules, resembling brushstrokes or hairs, that provide clues about the tangled magnetic field. The data gathered by the Inouye telescope will contribute to unraveling the mysteries surrounding solar phenomena, leading to a deeper understanding of the internal dynamics of the star and the driving forces behind solar cycles.
The new images can also be found on the National Science Foundation website.