The world’s most powerful solar telescope has looked at its destination and captured mysterious regions on the Sun bursting with energy and power. The observatory has captured the layer of atmosphere just above the surface of the sun known as the Chromosphere.
The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on June 3 looked at the Sun and the area of the Sun’s atmosphere above the surface. The image released by the US National Science Foundation covers an area of 82,500 kilometers across at a resolution of 18 kilometers.
The image was released to commemorate the first year of the Operations Commissioning Phase (OCP) of the telescope, which aims to reveal the Sun in ways never seen before. “NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope is the world’s most powerful solar telescope that will forever change the way we explore and understand our sun,” NSF Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan said.
He added that its insights will transform how the US, and the planet, predict and prepare for events like solar storms.
The observatory zoomed in on the Chromosphere, which is a layer in the Sun between 400 kilometers and 1200 kilometers above the solar surface. According to Nasa, the temperature in the chromosphere varies between about 4000 K at the bottom and 8000 K at the top (3700 and 7700 degrees Celcius). The layer is unique since it actually gets hotter if you go further away from the Sun, unlike in the lower layers, where it gets hotter if you go closer to the center of the Sun.
The telescope will be used to look at the Sun in a new light and unravel the mysteries of the star in our solar system to better understand and predict space weather events like solar storms, coronal mass ejections, and solar flares. “Since OCP began in February 2022, the Inouye Solar Telescope has gathered data for more than 20 of the accepted scientific proposals and has conducted initial coordinated solar observations with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and ESA/NASA’s Solar Orbiter,” the NSF said in a statement.
Officials added that the inauguration puts a stamp on an ambitious, multi-decade project to provide the world with its greatest solar observatory.