The U.S. National Science Foundation’s new Solar Telescope – DKIST (Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope) just released it’s first image of a sunspot and it’s sunsational!
New Solar Telescope - DKIST
The DKIST telescope is still in final stages of completion, but has already provided a stunning sunspot image in very high quality.
The optics, mechanical systems and instruments are cutting edge and allow for some of the highest resolution images to date, more than two and a half times higher than the previous record.
The sunspot in this initial image is around 16000 km (10000 miles) across, providing the closest look at the processes occurring on the surface of our sun to date.
Sunspots are cooler, darker areas on the surface of the sun and are basically magnetic storms on the surface of a star.
The photosphere of the sun has a temperature of around 5800 K, while sunspots have a temperature of around 3000 K, this contrast in temperatures can be captured visually as a sunspot.
Expect to see many more of these stunning images from this new solar telescope in the coming years.
Long term plans exist to provide live views much like we now have cameras streaming images back from the International Space Station live.
For those of you who enjoy watching the flickering flames of a fire, and of course those closest pyromaniacs amongst us, this could be the ultimate voyeur experience!