The incredible image was captured by the US National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii – the world’s largest solar observatory.
These intriguing solar phenomena, which appear as dark patches on the surface of the Sun, are essentially regions of reduced temperature caused by concentrations of magnetic field flux.
They can be large or small and last from a few days to several months.
The new image is the first of a sunspot released by the observatory and demonstrates just what its advanced optics and four-meter primary mirror are capable of.
Once fully operational, it was provide unparalleled views of our star.
“The sunspot image achieves a spatial resolution about 2.5 times higher than ever previously achieved, showing magnetic structures as small as 20 kilometers on the surface of the sun,” said associate director Dr. Thomas Rimmele.
As solar activity increases over the next few years, we should see many more images like this one.
“With this solar cycle just beginning, we also enter the era of the Inouye Solar Telescope,” said Dr. Matt Mountain of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).
“We can now point the world’s most advanced solar telescope at the Sun to capture and share incredibly detailed images and add to our scientific insights about the Sun’s activity.”