Breathtaking images of the sun's surface released by NSF

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MAUI, HI -- Astronomers have released some incredible images of our sun this week.

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope captured the images in December, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) said this is the most detailed view of the sun's surface to date.

According to their website, the telescope has produced the highest resolution image of the sun's surface ever taken.

Astronomers said the images, released Wednesday, detail “cell-like structures” – each about the size of Texas – cover the surface of the sun.

The NSF said a pattern of turbulent, “boiling” gas covers the entire sun, and the cell-like structures are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface.

The Inouye Solar Telescope sits on the summit of Haleakala, Maui, in Hawaii, and has enabled a new era of solar science.

Astronomers said "space weather", or sun activity impacts planet Earth in multiple ways.

The magnetic eruptions seen on the sun can impact air travel, disrupt satellite communications and bring down power grids.

This can cause long-lasting blackouts and disabling technologies such as GPS.

NSF director and former Purdue University president, France Córdova said, “Since NSF began work on this ground-based telescope, we have eagerly awaited the first images.”

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