There is still much about the Sun that remains shrouded in mystery – a problem compounded by the fact that, until now at least, even the most detailed images have been relatively low-res and blurry.
These latest shots however, which were originally captured in 2018, are so detailed that it is possible, for the first time, to see the individual strands of super heated plasma in the Sun’s outer atmosphere.
“Until now solar astronomers have effectively been viewing our closest star in ‘standard definition,’ whereas the exceptional quality of the data provided by the Hi-C telescope allows us to survey a patch of the Sun in ‘ultra-high definition’ for the first time,” said solar physicist Prof Robert Walsh.
“Think of it like this: if you are watching a football match on television in standard definition, the football pitch looks green and uniform. Watch the same game in ultra-HD and the individual blades of grass can jump out at you — and that’s what we’re able to see with the Hi-C images.”
“We are catching sight of the constituent parts that make up the atmosphere of the star.”