A mesmerizing image of the Sun has been released, arguably making it one of the most captivating space images in history.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory is keeping a 24/7 check on the activity of the Sun. Yet, who said a little help from some friends is not welcome?
This captivating image is a composite result of images taken by a few friends: NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, also known as NuSTAR is one of them. Japan’s Hinode spacecraft is another.
Japan’s Hinode is typically looking at low-energy occurrences and displays them in green in the X-rays transmitted. NuSTAR looks at high-energy X-rays and displays them in blue. UV light is showcased in strokes of red and yellow.
Together, the Solar Dynamic Observatory, NuStar and Hinode created a masterpiece that is in fact an accurate mapping of the electromagnetic spectrum of the Sun’s energy.
For NuSTAR looking at the Sun was never part of the job description. Usually NuSTAR looks at black holes and pools data on high-energy processes associated to the black holes in hopes of determining dark matter.
California Institute of Technology’s Brian Grefenstette stated:
“What’s great about NuSTAR is that the telescope is so versatile that we can hunt black holes million of light years away and we can also learn something fundamental about the star in our own backyard”.
So, besides analyzing supernovae, black holes and high-energy targets, NuSTAR became the preferred tool in coronal magnetic processes study. Iain Hannah from the University of Glasgow showcased the mesmerizing composite image of the Sun at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy meeting taking place in Llandudno, Wales.
“We can see a few active regions on the sun in this view. Our sun is quieting down in its activity cycle, but still has a couple of years before it reaches a minimum”.
Such joint efforts could bring a future ridden with findings that could explain the upheld mystery the solar corona still is.
Active areas noticed in the composite image are eruptions on the Sun’s surface that send charged particles into the atmosphere, as well as high-energy radiation.
The solar corona is the atmosphere of the Sun, or a little understood billion-degrees hotspot for magnetic processes.
Image Source: nasa.gov