Swedish Solar Telescope: Solar Closeups

  • Released Friday, June 7, 2019

This imagery from the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope (SST) at La Palma, Spain is part of a series of multi-wavelength observations of a solar active region. This imagery is taken at a wavelength of light near the K-line of ionized calcium (Wikipedia). The goal of the observations was to better understand the methods by which non-thermal energy is injected into the solar chromosphere by mechanisms such as emerging magnetic fields in sunspots.

In this close-up of the solar photosphere, we see the dark regions of sunspots, and solar granules changing with time. These granules are the tops of convection cells where hot gas rises from the interior to cool and then descend back down. The SST achieves its high resolution using an adaptive optics system to reduce the effects of atmospheric turbulence. Some frames of the movie exhibit blurring as the turbulence became too high to completely cancel out.

To get a sense of scale of the closeup, the image covers a region 46,900 x 33,500 km. Since the diameter of Earth is about 12,700 km, it could fit four Earths in the horizontal dimension and three Earths in the vertical dimension.


Data taken by Jaime de la Cruz Rodriguez & Jorrit Leenaarts at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope
Visualization generated by NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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This page was originally published on Friday, June 7, 2019.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:12 AM EST.

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