World’s Largest Solar Telescope Releases Most “HD” Sun Photos

On January 29 local time, DKIST, the world’s largest solar telescope in Maui, Hawaii, released its first photo. This is the most detailed image of the sun in human history. The surface is tumbling with plasma, showing cell-like structures, each of which is about the size of Texas. (Texas is similar in size to Qinghai.)

The turbulence created by these plasmas originates from the bright center of the sun, transfers the heat inside the sun to the surface of the sun, cools and then sinks through dark channels, forming a kind of convection.

DKIST is located in Haleakala, Maui’s highest peak. Interestingly, Haleakala, which is 3028 meters above sea level, means “House of the Sun” in the local area. It is currently in the initial testing stage and is planned to be fully commissioned in July this year. Utilizing superior local observation conditions and unique optical design, this 4-meter-diameter telescope can map the magnetic field emitted by the sun to outer space.

The solar magnetic field is an important factor in solar activity, and it is closely related to sunspots, sundials, and flares, and therefore affects life on the planet. Once an outbreak occurs, it may interfere with aviation flight, cause the power grid to be paralyzed, and even disable satellite navigation technology.

Predicting the solar magnetic field can improve human understanding of space weather. At present, human space weather forecasting capabilities are at least 50 years behind the Earth weather forecast.

According to Jeff Kuhn, a professor at the Manoa Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, this is the largest leap in human ground-based solar research since the Galileo era. Through infrared and optical technologies, DKIST can reveal sunspots and subtle magnetic properties. Characteristics, and how their magnetic fields enter space.

The sun burns about 5 million tons of hydrogen fuel every second. Directing the lens at such a star with a surface temperature of 6000 degrees Celsius is obviously a challenge. Thomas Rimmele, subjective of the DKSIT telescope, said the telescope’s focus was hot enough to melt the metal in a short period of time. In order to protect the telescope, scientists have made a special cooling system, which is equivalent to making ice cubes that can fill an entire swimming pool every night, and then the coolant is distributed to the entire observatory through 11 kilometers of pipes for cooling during the day. . The telescope’s dome itself is covered by a cooling sheet, and inside there is a baffle structure that provides shadows.

The sun’s recent research fever among international astronomers is on the rise. NASA ’s first solar probe, the Parker, was launched in August 2018 and is expected to eventually approach the sun at a close range of 6 million kilometers. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) first solar orbiter is scheduled to launch in early February. The schedule for China’s Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory is currently set for 2021.

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