Highest resolution image of the sun's surface ever taken
The U.S. National Science Foundation's Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope has produced the highest resolution image of the sun's surface ever taken. In this picture, taken at 789 nanometers, you can see features as small as 18 miles (30 kilometers) in size for the first time ever. The image shows a pattern of turbulent, "boiling" gas that covers the entire sun. The cell-like structures -- each about the size of Texas -- are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface. Hot solar material (plasma) rises in the bright centers of "cells," cools off and then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection. In these dark lanes we can also see the tiny, bright markers of magnetic fields. Never before seen to this clarity, these bright specks are thought to channel energy up into the outer layers of the solar atmosphere called the corona. These bright spots may be at the core of why the solar corona is more than a million degrees.
Learn more in the NSF Research News story NSF’s newest solar telescope produces first images. (Date image taken: unknown; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: March 25, 2022)
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.
Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation.
Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.5 MB)
Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.