It is well known that our blue planet is separated from the Sun by 149.6 million kilometers, which guarantee the Earth the most favorable climatic conditions and opportunities for the prosperity of life. Be that as it may, this same distance did not give mankind the opportunity to properly examine the surface of the star that once gave it life. However, according to an article published on sciencealert.com, the new telescope of Daniel C. Inouye of the National Science Foundation in Hawaii was able to realize the dream of mankind in reality, providing us with the most detailed pictures of the surface of the Sun in history.
What does the surface of the sun look like?
The new telescope, built to study the Sun, has released its first pictures, and they are simply breathtaking. The photographs show the surface of the Sun in the smallest detail that we have ever seen – revealing convective granules the size of Texas and the tiny magnetic features of the solar surface that extend far into space.
Despite the entertainment of the presented images, photographing the solar surface is not the main task of the telescope. So, with the help of the device, scientists hope to better understand the dynamics of the evolution of the Sun, as well as how the processes occurring on the star affect life on Earth.
Of particular interest to scientists are the plasma magnetic fields of the Sun, entangled in plasma, which can lead to the occurrence of solar storms on Earth, which, in turn, can disable all electronic equipment on the planet. Less powerful solar storms can also affect communication and navigation systems, but to a much lesser extent, while creating magnificent auroras that can be seen at high latitudes. However, despite the entire level of knowledge that mankind has been able to acquire over the entire period of studying solar activity, our ability to predict space weather remains extremely limited, which can lead to very unpleasant consequences on a planetary scale. Scientists hope that the Inouye telescope will help to cope with such a misunderstanding by providing a large amount of necessary information about the processes taking place in the immediate vicinity of our star. A help for the telescope in this difficult task can be a set of modern tools, most of which are still not connected. One of such devices can be a cryogenic near infrared spectropolarimeter (CryoNIRSP), designed to measure the magnetic field of a star in its corona. Another ultramodern device will be a diffraction-limited near infrared spectropolarimeter (DL-NIRSP), aimed at studying magnetic fields and their polarization.
So, with the help of science, forecasts of magnetic storms can be analyzed 48 hours before the start of a space event. By the way, at present, the technique is able to learn about the approaching storm only 48 minutes before its onset.