Satellite Technology Feature Article
NASA Telescope Captures Most Detailed Sun Photos to Date
By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor
The Sun is beautiful of course but be warned, if look directly at it you will go blind. Over-protective mothers have warned us of this for ages, but now that may not necessarily be true anymore: scientists at NASA have managed to look directly at the sun using a specialized telescope.
On July 11, a team of NASA scientists put to use some of the highest-quality mirrors ever produced in order to capture a slew of stunning photographs of the Sun.
The enhanced telescope is called the High Resolution Coronal Imager, known as Hi-C for short. The Hi-C telescope was launched onboard a rocket reaching 58 feet tall, which proceeded to carry the Hi-C along on a sub-orbital trajectory for a remarkably quick 10 minute ride.
Half of the telescope’s rocket ride was spent taking pictures—for five minutes straight a camera mounted inside the Hi-C snapped 165 pictures of a specific area on the Sun.
Scientists had determined which area to target last month when arranging the project. The spot was chosen because it was thought that that specific area of the Sun would have intense magnetic activity, due to the presence of a sunspot.
The Hi-C was reportedly able to capture details on the Sun as small as 137 miles wide. This number is even more impressive when considering that the Sun is more than 100 times the size of the earth, so the specific spot photographed is actually astonishingly minute.
The photographs produced by the project allowed those at NASA to see the swirling solar corona in unprecedented detail, and now the footage is available for mass viewership here.
At the end of the telescope’s lightning-quick mission, the Hi-C returned to Earth, landing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Though short-lived, the mission provided scientists (and the world) with an outstanding new perspective on the center of our universe.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman