Recently released images of the sun show it in the highest resolution ever and it’s pretty impressive.
The snaps reveal spots on the sun’s surface that are filled with hot plasma strands.
The images also show that the sun’s atmosphere it much more complex than previously thought.
They were taken by the Nasa High-Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) space-based telescope.
Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire and Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center then studied the shots.
They found that sections of the sun’s atmosphere previously thought to be dark or empty are actually filled with hundreds of miles of strands of hot electrified gasses.
Each strand is said to be up to 1.8million degrees Fahrenheit (999982.°C).
They’re also so big that they’re larger than the distance between London and Belfast.
What created the strands remains unclear.
The telescope that captured the images was carried into space on a sub-orbital rocket.
It then captured an image of the sun every second before returning to Earth.
Dr. Amy Winebarger, Hi-C principal investigator at Nasa MSFC stated: “These new Hi-C images give us a remarkable insight into the sun’s atmosphere.
“Along with ongoing missions such as Probe and SolO, this fleet of space-based instruments in the near future will reveal the sun’s dynamic outer layer in a completely new light.”
Future research will now look into how the stands are formed and what their presences means.
They could also provide a better understanding about how the sun relates to the Earth.
Tom Williams, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLan who worked on the Hi-C data, said: “This is a fascinating discovery that could better inform our understanding of the flow of energy through the layers of the sun and eventually down to Earth itself.
“This is so important if we are to model and predict the behavior of our life-giving star.”
Robert Walsh, professor of solar physics at UCLan, added: “Until now, solar astronomers have effectively been viewing our closest star in ‘standard definition
“The exceptional quality of the data provided by the Hi-C telescope allows us to survey a patch of the sun in ‘ultra-high definition’ for the first time.”
The study has been published in the Astrophysical Journal.