Researchers have caught the first best-resolution view of the Sun out there, thanks to the Daniel K. Inouye 4-meter solar telescope. The image which shows features of 18 miles wide (that’s 30km) is actually the first one ever to show what the surface of the Sun actually looks like. This one is very different than what we’ve seen so far. We have a lot of new details, but that does not mean that it does not lack others – it has been shot from 93 million miles away. The SDO is also in orbit, which means that we can also get much better viewing conditions than with any other telescope out there.
But how did the Inouye Solar Telescope was so good at catching details, in comparison with SDO’s work?
Well, it is all about location, the sheer size, and adaptive optics. At 4 meters, the Inouye is actually the largest solar telescope on Earth, and Hawaii – its place – is known to be the best location for a clear sky during the day. The situation is the same when it comes to its relationship with the Hubble telescope. It is a 2.4-meter lens, and the European Extremely Large Telescope is still under construction. It is set to have a 39.3-meter lens.
Hubble does not present the largest window out there, but it is important since the specific characteristics of the space-based observation can give us additional details in some areas than the capacity of light-gathering from scaling up a lens.
The Inouye Solar Telescope will cooperate when it comes to observations with the in-orbit NASA Parker Solar Probe, and the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter.