Closest Sun Surface
Photo credit: NSO/AURA/NSF via Peta Pixel
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, installed on top of a volcano in Hawaii at around 10,000-feet above sea level, show the surface of the sun in the closest detail yet, revealing features as small as 18-miles across across. This telescope features the world’s largest solar (13 feet) mirror, and could enable a greater understanding of the sun and its impact on our planet. Read more for a video and additional information.

As you can see from the images, a pattern of turbulent, boiling gas is shown covering the sun, which is approximately 93 million miles from Earth. Inside the visible cell-like structures, each around the size of Texas, hot plasma can be seen rising before cooling off and sinking below the surface in dark lanes, as part of a process known as convection.

Since NSF began work on this ground-based telescope, we have eagerly awaited the first images. We can now share these images and videos, which are the most detailed of our Sun to date. NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope will be able to map the magnetic fields within the Sun’s corona, where solar eruptions occur that can impact life on Earth. This telescope will improve our understanding of what drives space weather and ultimately help forecasters better predict solar storms,” said France Córdova, NSF director.