Scientists at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBO), operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, have taken the most detailed photo of a sunspot ever captured in visible light. To do so they used a deformable mirror in what is called adaptive optics. The striking image was first published on the Ciel et l’Espace website, as photo of the day.
The image was taken with the 1.6 m clear aperture, off-axis New Solar Telescope (NST). It has a resolution covering about 50 miles on the Sun’s surface.
A sunspot is a magnetic disturbance on the Sun that appears as a dark blotch on its surface. Scientists believe these magnetic structures hold a vital key to understanding space weather.
Ciel et l’Espace will publish more of these Sun photos in September.
*Image credit Big Bear Solar Observatory