Inouye Sun

Highest resolution images ever taken of the Sun were released January 29, 2020 by astronomers at the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. Inouye, the world’s largest solar telescope sits near the summit of Mount Haleakala on Maui. Construction began in January 2013. The distinguishing feature, a 13 foot primary mirror arrived in August, 2017. This week we have Inouye to thank for expanding solar horizons. A statement from NSF (National Science Foundation) –

“The images show a pattern of turbulent ‘boiling’ plasma 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. That hot solar plasma rises in the bright centers of ‘cells,’ cools, then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection.”

Square of tightly-packed caramel corn-like granules.

I can’t watch this video without grinning from ear to ear –

Erupting solar plasma drives space weather’s engine. Solar storms impact airlines, GPS, telecommunications and the power grid. To understand solar dynamics, is to understand space weather. High resolution Inouye images are touted as the greatest leap in humanity’s ability to study the Sun since Galileo.  Said Thomas Rimmele, Director of Inouye Solar Telescope –

“It’s all about the magnetic field. To unravel the sun’s biggest mysteries, we have to not only be able to clearly see these tiny structures from 93 million miles [150 million km] away but very precisely measure their magnetic field strength and direction near the surface and trace the field as it extends out into the million-degree corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun.”

Newest solar telescope releases its 1st images

6 thoughts on “Inouye Sun

  1. Isn’t it just so wonderful that “God” gave us the sun? *sarcasm*

    Seriously, what I found rather interesting is those “cell-like structures.” Reminds me of the human body. But then much of the universe and our existence are tied together.

  2. I saw this when the photos were released an the detail reminds me of how little we really understand about the way the universe functions. Sure, there’s a lot that we know. But we’re mere specks on an infinite three (or more) dimensional world and we have the audacity to treat this planet as if we own it. Sad really.

  3. It’s hard to think of something on the surface of the sun as ‘cooling’. But all is relative, no?

    I accept 4 dimensions as obvious—but science seems to keep on ‘discovering’ more. But even the basic four blows a lot of philosophies out of the water. Sadly most folks are happy to just exist. In four. Me too …

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