Is this an image of tiny gold nuggets or popcorn kernels?

newest solar telescope produces first high res images of the solar surface

Neither!  A new solar telescope in Hawaii has taken the most detailed footage of the Sun’s surface to date. This high-resolution footage reveals the Sun’s intense gas surface.  

The footage shows the surface covered with a pattern of bright cell-like areas.

Each “cell” in the video is about the size of France.

The “popping” cells are *plasma rising up from inside the core of the Sun, cooling off, and then escaping back downwards like bubbling water in a boiling pot. (*Plasma is the 4th state of matter beyond solids, liquids, and gases. Stars are mostly made of plasma. At the core of the Sun, individual hydrogen nuclei smash together and create helium, and the material or plasma they produce then travels up to the surface over the course of ten thousand years)

The video is so high in resolution that when one zooms in on the images it can reveal details and figures on the Sun’s surface as small as about 18 miles in size. Look at the image below to understand the scale.

Where is the solar telescope?

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is located on the Haleakala volcano on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The telescope is run by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). It is recognized as the largest and most powerful solar telescope in the world.

When it’s fully completed this summer, the telescope will continue to study the Sun’s activity. Scientists hope they will learn what causes the Sun to release powerful flares out into space. This solar activity causes space weather and impacts us on earth. Images of the sun will better prepare us on Earth for future space weather events. Space weather affects air travel, satellite communications and can bring down power grids, causing long-lasting blackouts and disabling technologies such as GPS.

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