Never-before-seen images of the Sun, taken from the Haleakalā summit, reveal cell-like structures the size of Texas roiling on its surface. These are the very first images observed by the National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.
The $344 million Inouye Solar Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful solar telescope. Scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy helped build two infrared instruments for DKIST that ultimately will allow scientists to predict the Sun’s magnetic activity and solar storms.
The telescope will become fully operational in July 2020, but scientists continue to conduct preliminary tests by making observations of the Sun. DKIST is designed to map the magnetic fields within the Sun’s corona, where solar eruptions occur that impact life on Earth. Solar activity can disrupt air travel, cause blackouts and disable technologies such as GPS used for navigation.