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 have used interferometry to create a time-lapse of the nearby star zeta Andromedae over one of its 18-day rotations that show starspots — sunspots outside our solar system. The pattern of spots on the star is very different from their typical arrangement on our Sun, challenging current theories of how stars’ magnetic fields influence their evolution.