Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF The new pictures from NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope confirm that the sun is made of caramel corn, right? Well, not quite. Though the likeness is uncanny, the sun is more complex than that. What you see in the solar telescope pictures is called hot plasma, a scorching gas that’s boiling toward the sun’s surface … Continue reading Caramel corn or the sun?
Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF In March 1989, astronomers could only watch as a vast cloud of electrically charged particles and magnetic fields erupted from the sun, eventually slamming into Earth’s magnetic fields. Satellites in orbit went silent, or worse yet, lost control, as high-energy particles from the “solar storm” blasted their electronics. On Earth, the intense magnetic … Continue reading NSF’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is key to gaining a better understanding our nearest star
Today’s night skies may be similar to those that Galileo Galilei observed in the 1600s, but that is where the state of optical astronomy’s similarities end. Since Galileo first recorded his observations of the Moon, Jupiter and the Milky Way in a 1610 edition of The Starry Messenger, telescopes have grown, adaptive optics have allowed … Continue reading Structure and infrastructure: Preparing for next-gen optical astronomy