The U.S. National Science Foundation has released the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope’s first image of a sunspot, a spectacular, zoomed-in view captured on 28 January that shows a remarkably detailed view. While the 4-metre telescope is still undergoing tests and checkout, the image exhibits “a spatial resolution about 2.5 times higher than ever previously achieved, showing magnetic structures as small as 20 kilometres (12 miles) on the surface of the Sun,” said Thomas Rimmele, associate director at NSF’s National Solar Observatory, the organisation that operates the Inouye facility. The image is about 10,000 miles across, large enough for Earth to fit inside.
Astronomers recently announced that the nearby star Proxima Centauri hosts an Earth-sized planet in its habitable zone. Proxima Centauri is a small, cool, red dwarf star only one-tenth as massive and one-thousandth as luminous as the Sun. However, new research shows that it is Sun-like in one surprising way: it has a regular cycle of starspots.