We've always been warned never to look directly at the sun, but on July 11 a team of scientists from NASA did exactly that. They were using a specialized telescope called the High Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C for short) and the resulting photos are nothing short of spectacular.
The Hi-C telescope was launched onboard a 58-foot-tall rocket which carried it along a sub-orbital trajectory for only 10 minutes. For five of those minutes, a camera mounted inside the telescope snapped 165 pictures of an area on the Sun that scientists had picked out nearly a month prior. Once it was done, the Hi-C returned to Earth and was recovered at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
NASA scientists pointed the 10-foot-long Hi-C at an area of the Sun expected to have intense magnetic activity due to the presence of a sunspot. They weren't disappointed, and you can see the swirling solar corona in better-than-ever detail in the video above. The photos were made possible by using some of the highest-quality mirrors ever produced by NASA. The agency says the Hi-C was able to capture details on the Sun as small as 137 miles wide, which is pretty impressive when you consider the star is more than 100 times the size of the Earth.
[via Universe Today]
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