This impressive photograph of a sunspot was taken by the world’s largest solar observatory, the Daniel K. Inoue El Shamsi of the National Science Foundation on Maui Island, Hawaii. From the National Solar Observatory, the organization that built and operated the telescope:
“The sunspot image achieves 2.5 times more spatial resolution than ever before, and shows small magnetic structures up to 20 km on the surface of the sun,” he said. [National Solar Observatory associate director Thomas] Rimmel.
The image reveals amazing details about the structure of the sunspot as seen on the surface of the sun. The sinuous appearance of the hot and cold gases emitting from the darker center is the result of carving through the convergence of intense magnetic fields and hot gases boiling from below.
Concentrating magnetic fields in this dark region prevents heat inside the sun from reaching the surface. Although the dark area of the sunspot is cooler than the area around the sun, it is still very hot with a temperature of over 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
This image, which is about 10,000 miles in diameter, is just a small portion of the sun. However, the sunspot is large enough to comfortably fit the Earth inside.
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