What Does The Sun Look Like?

February 21, 2020

If you were the most powerful solar telescope in the world, you’d probably show off a bit. Well, that’s what the Inouye Solar Telescope, a four-meter telescope in Hawaii, recently did. Construction of the telescope started in 2010, but it wasn’t until late 2019 that it captured the first pictures of the sun. What was the telescope’s goal? To understand how the sun behaves, for one. The weather created by the sun’s magnetic field has a direct impact on planet Earth, and scientists are interested in understanding how changes occur on the sun’s surface. How does the Inouye telescope work? Ten mirrors guide sunlight into an observatory and deliver the sharpest possible image of the sun. Wait a minute … aren’t telescopes in space better for capturing images of the sun? Well, not really. Telescopes on Earth can be as big as we want them to be and therefore more powerful, but one disadvantage is that the earth’s atmosphere can distort images as they are transmitted to the telescope’s mirrors. To counter this, the telescope uses a technique called adaptive optics, where the mirrors warp to counter atmospheric changes.

Ready to take a peek at the telescope and the images the telescope took of the sun? Take a look below!!

Image Of The Sun
Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope
NSO/AURA/NSF