For the first time, these stunning new images of the sun reveal its mysterious color envelope

A pair of stunning new images of the sun are revealing subtle details about the atmosphere surrounding Earth’s closest star, with help from a solar telescope expected to open a new chapter in the study of solar science.

By conveying the surface of the sun in exquisite detail resembling a sea of ​​golden fire, the new images are the first to capture the image. chromospherethe atmosphere above the surface of the Sun, within a region comprising 51,300 miles from the outer surface of the burning star.

The second of three basic layers found within the Sun’s atmosphere, the chromosphere, which is an estimated 2,000-3,000 miles in height, lies between the region above it known as the solar transition zone and above the region called the photosphere. Plasma jets known as spicules They can be observed in the new images, which extend upwards through these regions as much as 6,200 miles, penetrating the sun’s corona.

The image above, among the first images of the Sun’s chromosphere, was taken at 486.13 nanometers using the Balmer’s series beta hydrogen line, with the impressive new Daniel K. Inouye Telescope (Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF).

Distinguished by its red hue, the chromophore produces electromagnetic emissions of a particular class that have served as the basis for much of what astronomers have learned about it in the past, particularly given the difficulties involved in visualizing it.

That is likely to change, new images show, thanks to the capabilities of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, the largest telescope on Earth and now the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) flagship solar telescope.

In late August, the powerful new telescope was inaugurated at an event featuring scientists, members of Congress, and Native Hawaiians just below the summit of Haleakala, the giant shield volcano that encompasses more than three-quarters of the island of Maui.

chromosphere
Above, the Sun’s chromosphere is shown in great new detail in one of the new images taken with the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on June 3, 2022 (Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF).

The telescope, which underwent Operations Commissioning Phase (OCP) during its first year in operation, is a project in the making for a quarter of a century.

“For more than 25 years, the National Science Foundation has invested in creating a world-leading ground-based solar observatory to address the most pressing questions in solar physics and space weather events affecting Earth,” read statement Published by the National Solar Observatory (NSO). “This vision, implemented by the Association of Research Universities in Astronomy (AURA) through the NSF’s National Solar Observatory (NSO), was fulfilled during the official launch of the Inouye Solar Telescope.”

In the coming years, the Inoue Solar Telescope will attempt to collect information about the Sun in unprecedented detail, which will greatly expand our understanding. solar notes In coordination with current projects that include observations by the Parker Solar Probe, the NASA spacecraft currently studying the Sun’s corona, as well as the Solar Orbiter, a joint mission developed by the European Space Agency in partnership with NASA that aims to study the solar pole. Hard-to-view areas of the Earth.

Sitherman Panchanathan, Director of NSF, He said That the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope “will forever change the way we explore and understand our Sun.”

“Her visions will change how our nation and the planet anticipate and prepare for events like solar storms.”

Micah Hanks is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Debrief. Continue his work at micahhanks.com And on Twitter: Tweet embed.