Written byShubham Sharma
Last year, an array of telescopes located around the globe photographed the first-ever real picture of a black hole's event horizon.
Let's take a look at them.
Previously, the turbulent surface of the Sun appeared hazy and blurred, leaving the world wondering what exactly lies within that churning plasma exterior.
However, just recently, the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope, a Hawaii-based observatory designed to study the star, solved that mystery by capturing the surface of the Sun at a level of detail like never before.
The stunning images, described as the highest resolution shots of the solar surface, show what many wouldn't have expected - tiny granular structures looking like nuggets of gold stacked next to each other.
These are the tops of convection cells that release rising columns of plasma (masses of hot, excited gas) superheated to 6,000°Celsius - the bright spots at the center of each grain.
The rising columns of plasma transfer heat from the Sun's interior to its surface. But, according to scientists, when the material cools, it descends back into the interior using the narrow channels that appear between the granules.
While the plasma spewing granules appear fairly small, they are comprehensively large in reality, with each one spanning between 30km to 1,600km across.
This, when put into perspective, implies that each cell seen in the image is nearly as big as France or the US state of Texas (spanning 1,270km).
It also shows the kind of detail Inouye telescope is capable of capturing.
To break down the blurred, bright solar surface into tiny patchwork, Inouye telescope leveraged a 4m primary mirror, the world's largest for a solar telescope, cooled by a swimming pool's worth of ice.
In fact, the resolution of images produced by the telescope, located atop Haleakalā volcano on the island of Maui, is said to be more than twice that of other solar observatories.
The details and the turbulent movement captured by this telescope will eventually help scientists on Earth to better understand the behavior of the star and predict its activity cycle.
This way, scientists will be able to prepare effectively for solar storms, which can impact communication and navigation systems, even knock out power grids (although that is very rare).
Love Science news?
Subscribe to stay updated.