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See Sun’s Surface in Greater Detail with the Inouye Solar Telescope

Astronomers have revealed what they claim are the finest detailed photographs of our sun's surface ever taken. The sun seems to be a boiling pot of popcorn when viewed through Hawaii's brand-new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, defying the stereotype of a dull yellow orb.

Stars are delicate glittering harbingers of romance and the hidden secret order of the universe when seen from afar.

Grist for armchair astrobiology and campfire philosophizing. It's a different tale up close. The species of Earth scrape out a livelihood 93 million kilometers from the nearest star — the one we call the sun — on the edge of nearly unimaginable violence. Thermonuclear reactions at the Sun's core convert 5 million tons of hydrogen into pure energy every second. This energy travels outward, through boiling gas pocked by magnetic storms that crackle, swirl, and lash space with electrical particle and radiation showers.

These showers are referred to as "space weather." It has the ability to shut down the electricity grid and blind satellites on Earth. According to a new study conducted by experts at the University of Warwick in England, the sun's most intense "superstorms" occur every 25 years or so. The sun's stream can put humans in peril in orbit. The radiation dangers from space weather, together with weightlessness and boredom, are regarded as the most significant barriers to human travel to Mars and beyond.

The sun's face is divided into "kernels," which are cell-like structures approximately the size of Texas that transport heat from the sun's inside to the outside. Hot gas rises to the brilliant cores of the cells, cools, and then sinks into the dark lanes that separate them.

The photographs were taken with the world's largest solar telescope, Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii which was built by the National Science Foundation atop Haleakala, an old cratered volcano on the island that is holy to native Hawaiians. In Hawaiian, Haleakala means "home of the sun." What better spot to construct the world's largest solar telescope? It sits atop the 10,000-foot Haleakala mountain in Maui, Hawaii, and combines a four-meter mirror with "unparalleled viewing conditions." The telescope was used for the first time to obtain the highest resolution photographs of the sun's surface ever taken.

The telescope was named after Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who died in 2012 and is credited with helping to turn the state into an astronomical powerhouse. The primary mirror of the telescope measures roughly 158 inches in diameter.

To get rid of the solar heat the telescope receives and keep the equipment cool, more than seven miles of underground plumbing is required. Higher-resolution — more detail of the pop, crackle, and snap on the sun's surface — is possible because of the larger mirror and adaptive optics that reduce atmospheric blurring.

Scientists are hoping that the newly discovered details will help them figure out what drives the sun to send massive flares into space. These have the ability to disrupt air transport, satellite communications, and power grids, resulting in long-term blackouts and the disablement of technology like GPS.

With more comprehensive photos of the sun's surface, nations will be able to better prepare for future space weather disasters by receiving warnings up to 48 hours ahead of time, rather than the present standard of roughly 48 minutes.

Source: The New York Times

About the Writers:

Maina Zaina, Writer and a Virtual Assistant at AVCreativity Studio. She enjoys media entertainment and is an avid fan of "K-Wave". She loves her job because she is exposed to different types of entertainment. She also believes in the saying "If you want to be successful, don't seek success - seek competence, empowerment; do nothing short of the best that you can do" by Jaggi Vasudev

Pamela Elizabeth, Editor-in-Chief at AVCreativity Studio. Earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Secondary Education Major in English. She loves going on little adventures alongside reading good books. She is enthusiastic about her work and ensures that her clients receive the finest service possible.

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