After two decades of development the Inouye Solar Telescope opened its 4-meter mirror to the Sun’s light on December 12, 2019, capturing this image in 789nm wavelength of light. (Credit: NSO / AURA / NSF)
The first image from the National Solar Observatory’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope shows the “surface” (i.e., the photosphere) of our Sun in the highest resolution ever obtained, revealing structures as small as 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) wide squeezed between cells of convective activity—many of them considerably larger than the state of Texas!Looking like a tightly-packed bag of caramel kettle corn, the cellular shapes are created by the upwelling of solar plasma in a boiling-type motion.
Rising magnetic fields, which capture some of the super-hot plasma and transport it up into the Sun’s corona, trace bright swirling paths between them.
The video below shows a zoomed-in view of the photospheric convective structures in motion, covering an area 19,000 x 10,700 kilometers (11,800 x 6,700 miles) in size.
Here I’ve dropped an image of the Earth in approximate scale size (figuring it’s on the same plane as the photosphere, which would bode poorly for Earth in real life.)
Earth to scale. NSO / AURA / NSF. ...