Watch the sun up close from the most powerful solar telescope in the world

The astronomy community has a new tool for studying the sun, with the world’s largest solar telescope opening this week. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, located on Maui, Hawaii, has a 13-foot (4 m) primary mirror that enables it to see the sun in amazing detail.

To celebrate the telescope’s opening on August 31, 2022, the National Science Foundation (NSF) this week released a new image of the solar chromosphere. This is the part of the Sun’s atmosphere that lies just above its surface, and the image shows a region 50,000 miles in diameter where temperatures can reach 13,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The first images of the chromosphere – the region of the Sun’s atmosphere above the surface – were taken by the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on June 3, 2022. The image shows a region 82,500 kilometers wide with a resolution of 18 kilometers. This image was captured at 486.13 nm using the Balmer Series beta hydrogen streak. NSO / AURA / NSF

The director of the NSF, Sethuraman Panchanathan, said in statement about the installation. “Her visions will change how our nation and the planet anticipate and prepare for events like solar storms.”

The construction of the telescope has been a source of controversy due to its location at the summit of the Haleakala volcano, a site sacred to many Native Hawaiians. There were protests in 2015 and 2017 regarding the use of this sacred land to build the telescope, similar to the protests that led to protests against construction From a thirty-meter telescope planned in Mauna Kea.

In moving forward with the construction of the Inouye telescope, the telescope leadership emphasized its debt to the Hawaiians, including naming the telescope after former Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye, and formed a special working group with the Hawaii leaders. To make concessions such as building an area for religious ceremonies at the summit. some but not allBuilding opponents were satisfied with these efforts.

The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of both the Hawaiian scientific and local communities to celebrate the anniversary of the completion of telescope operating stage which lasted one year. The Inouye Solar Telescope is operated by the National Solar Observatory, a research center operated by the Consortium of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) with a collaborative agreement with the Astronomy Division of the National Science Foundation.

“With the world’s largest solar telescope now in scientific operations, we are grateful to all who made this remarkable facility possible,” said Matt Mountain, President of AURA. “In particular, we thank the people of Hawaii for the privilege of working from this wonderful site, to the National Science Foundation and the US Congress for their continued support, and to the Inouye Solar Telescope team, many of whom have tirelessly dedicated the most decade to this transformative project. Starting a new era in solar physics! “

Editors’ Recommendations