Thanks to the energy that the sun has radiated into space since its birth 5,000 million years, we enjoy the necessary conditions to inhabit the Earth. Many mysteries have been revealed about the center of the solar system so far.
We know, for example, that we live within the Sun’s atmosphere. Or that it will not go out until within a few 4.5 billion years. And also that the activity of this star, known as space weather, causes processes that can upset our daily lives.
The latest discovery comes from the hand of the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the US, which with its Inouye solar telescope has obtained the First detailed images of the solar surface.
Looking at these images, we verify that the surface of the Sun is covered with a kind of cells, each about the size of Texas, which are the result of a convection process whereby the heat inside the star emerges to its surface.
We currently know well the terrestrial climate, and that allows us to “predict if it will rain almost anywhere in the world with great precision,” as explained by the president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in charge of the Inouye solar telescope, Matt Mountain.
But now science has set out to understand how the space weather, a task in which the detailed observation of the Sun can be of great help.
Why is it important to understand space weather? Experts clarify that with this knowledge we could anticipate more spatial events of the future that would cancel out electrical networks and infrastructure: we would go from 48 minutes which we have today to 48 hours to prevent possible disasters.
Inouye technical characteristics
Inouye incorporates a mirror of more than four meters in which he concentrates until 13 kilowatts of solar radiation. To manage this heat, the telescope incorporates a cooling system based on kilometers of pipes through which refrigerant flows.
In addition, the solar telescope includes a high-tech metal donut cooled by liquid and called a heat stop, which blocks much of the energy that the mirror receives, thus enabling the study of specific regions of the Sun with a Sharpness that is unprecedented.
“The Inouye solar telescope will provide a remote perception of the outer layers of the Sun and the magnetic processes that occur in them,” says the director of the National Solar Observatory of NSF, Valentin Pillet.
“These processes propagate in the solar system, where the Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter missions will measure their consequences”, in the words of the expert, who adds that this advance will be very valuable “to understand how the stars and their planets are magnetically connected” .