Recent images taken by the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, the world's largest and most powerful ground-based solar telescope, continue to showcase the spectacular power of our Sun. Taken with the Visible Broadband Imager, one of Inouye's first generation instruments, these photos show our Sun in incredible close-up detail.
National Solar Observatory Senior Scientist Dr. “These images are a preview of the exciting science going on at the Inouye Solar Telescope,” Alexandra Tritschler told Universe Today. “These images are just a small fraction of the data from the first cycle. These exemplify the many and much broader science objectives, none of which were available in 2020, when the Inouye Solar Telescope released its first light images, and the much more powerful spectroscopy and spectropolarimetry data that now comes with the images.”
One of the solar features in Inouye's images is sunspots in the Sun's photosphere. These are dark spots on the "surface" of the Sun and are usually smaller than or equal to the size of the Earth. However, their dark appearance can be deceiving. That's because these spots are responsible for solar flares and coronal mass ejections that produce solar storms, a type of space weather.
Other features of the Inouye images include convection cells known as granules or "bubbles" located in the Sun's photosphere. These cells consist of plasma that flows upwards and downwards. The last feature in the images is the fibrils located in the Sun's chromosphere and produced from magnetic field interactions within the Sun.
Inouye aims to study the Sun's massive magnetic field to better understand the living behavior responsible for the aforementioned space weather. This air is responsible for the charged particles emanating from the Sun and interacting with the Earth's own magnetic field, causing the particles to move towards the Earth's north and south poles. This creates auroras that can be observed in the polar regions and the International Space Station.
But space weather can have serious effects on Earth's ground stations, orbiting satellites, and even an astronaut's health while in space. The Carrington event, which occurred in 1859 after a major solar storm damaged electric arcs and even the newly invented telegraph system, is one of the most important space weather events.
Dr. "We live in the Sun's outermost layer of atmosphere, and therefore the Sun is the most influential celestial body in our solar system," Tritschler told Universe Today. “For example, complex sunspots or sunspot groups can be the source of explosive events such as solar storm eruptions and coronal mass ejections. These energetic and explosive events have the potential to affect the Earth and our critical infrastructure (e.g. communications networks, power grids, satellites, astronauts in outer space, etc.) by affecting the heliosphere, the Sun's outermost atmospheric layer.”
Inouye is located on the island of Maui in Hawaii. It is a solar telescope with an altitude of about 3.000 meters and a diameter of 4 meters. The foundations of its construction were laid in 2010, and the first sun images were captured in 2019. It was designed to continue scientific activities over four solar cycles, each lasting about 11 years. So it is planned to work until the 2060s.
Dr. "The Inouye Solar Telescope's unique ability to capture spectroscopy and spectropolarimetry data in unprecedented detail will help solar scientists better understand the Sun's magnetic field and the factors behind solar storms," Tritschler told Universe Today. “A lot has happened since the first light images were released in 2020. The telescope is in the operational phase and now regularly observes the Sun under the guidance of the scientific community.”
Reference: universetoday.com/161859/new-detailed-images-of-the-sun-from-the-worlds-most powerful-ground-based-solar-telescope
Compiled by: Esra Tasci
📩 11/06/2023 16:03