Phenomena

New Details on the Sun’s Surface

Close detail of convection cells on the sun.

As part of its shakedown, the new Inouye Solar Telescope has captured the surface of the sun in stunning new detail. Seen here are some of the sun’s turbulent convection cells, each about the size of the state of Texas. Hot plasma rises in the center of each cell, cools, and then sinks near the dark edges. Also visible within these dark borders are bright spots thought to mark magnetic fields capable of channeling energy out into the corona. Researchers hope the new telescope will help them uncover the physics behind these processes. (Image and video credit: Inouye Solar Telescope)

Convection cells on the sun.

Editor’s note: Like several other telescopes located in Hawai’i, the Inouye Solar Telescope was built against the wishes of many native Hawaiians. Although FYFD supports scientific progress, it is my personal belief that scientific advances should not come at the expense of indigenous populations. I strongly urge my scientific colleagues to listen to and work alongside those with concerns about future facilities.

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