The best picture ever taken of the sun reveals its bizarre surface

New Scientist

This is the best picture we've ever taken of the surface of the sun. It was taken by the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) in Hawaii, the largest solar telescope in the world, on its first day observing our star. The honeycomb-like pattern on this image is made up of "cells" of plasma that roil over the sun's entire surface and draw heat out from the centre. The bright centres of the cells mark where plasma is rising, and the dark outlines are where it is sinking back into the sun. Each cell is hundreds of kilometres across – the size of France or even larger.

A place in the sun


Spacecraft are venturing closer than ever to the sun to probe its mysterious atmosphere. Jets of hot plasma, propelled by a bunch of magnetic field lines, rise from a small sunspot roughly the size of China. Ignoring the lessons of mythology, Betsy Congdon has spent the first decade of her young engineering career on a singular quest: to build something that will fly dangerously close to the sun. Another copy sits nearby, a flight-ready spare sealed in a metal drum stamped with an unintentionally ironic warning: "Do not expose to direct sunlight." The real one has headed south to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where on or soon after 11 August, it will blast off, fastened to the business end of NASA's Parker Solar Probe. Six weeks later, the probe will reach Venus.

Hawaiian Supreme Court allows Maui solar telescope

The Japan Times

HONOLULU – Hawaii's Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a permit to build a solar telescope on a Maui mountain. The ruling denies a challenge by a group seeking to protect the sacredness of the summit of Haleakala (hah-leh-AH'-ka-lah). The University of Hawaii followed proper procedure for an environmental assessment, the Supreme Court also ruled in a separate ruling. Last year, eight people were arrested when protesters tried to stop a construction convoy heading to the solar telescope site. Kahele Dukelow, one of the protest leaders, said opponents are disappointed and considering what their next steps will be.

Japan to seek help with running Subaru Telescope in Hawaii from U.S., Canada, China and India

The Japan Times

Japan is planning to request help from other countries to operate the Subaru Telescope, located near the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, in order to increase available funding and widen the scope of research activities, officials said Thursday. The optical-infrared telescope with a mirror measuring 8.2 meters in diameter was built by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan on the island of Hawaii in 1999. It has been at the forefront of research into black holes and planets outside of the solar system but the operator has struggled to secure finances to pay for repairs amid budget cuts. The NAOJ is considering asking the United States, Canada, China and India to jointly operate the telescope with Japan. Those five countries are already building another giant telescope near the summit of the more than 4,200-meter-high Mauna Kea that, when completed, will be 55 meters tall.

Telescope on land sacred to Native Hawaiians moves forward

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A long-running effort to build one of the world's largest telescopes on a mountain sacred to Native Hawaiians is moving forward after a key approval, reopening divisions over a project that promises revolutionary views into the heavens but has drawn impassioned protests over the impact to a spiritual place. Hawaii's land board granted a construction permit for the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope atop the state's tallest mountain, called Mauna Kea, but opponents likely would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Protesters willing to be arrested were successful in blocking construction in the past. This illustration provided by Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) shows the proposed giant telescope on Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. A long-running effort to build one of the world's largest telescopes on the mountain sacred to Native Hawaiians is moving forward after a key approval All the things that were illegally taken from us.' Telescope officials don't have any immediate construction plans and will consider its next steps, said Scott Ishikawa, a project spokesman.