The US National Science Foundation has published a detailed image of the sunspot taken by the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii. This was reported by the National Solar Observatory.

a Detailed Picture of a Sunspot Larger Than Earth
Image: The National Solar Observatory

The picture was taken on January 28, 2020, but only now it was decided to publish it. The image of this spot will be used in a series of scientific articles that describe the principles of operation and scientific goals of the telescope. The first part of the work is planned to be published in early 2021.

Dr. Thomas Rimmele, who studies the telescope, said this image is 2.5 times more detailed than any other. The dimensions of the smallest elements reach 20 kilometers. The image reveals the details of the structure of the sunspot.

In sunspots, the temperature is lower compared to other parts of the star. Thus, the image shows streaks of hot gas and cold gas coming from the dark center of the spot. The concentration of magnetic fields in the dark area suppresses the flow of heat into the spot.

The temperature of this spot is over 4,148 degrees Celsius. And that's not much less than the Sun's average surface temperature of 5,726 degrees Celsius. The width of the spot reaches more than 16 thousand kilometers, which is more than the diameter of the Earth.

Sunspots are the most visible sign of star activity. The more spots are visible on the Sun, the more active it is, scientists say.