Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adaptive Optics Produces Ultrasharp Images Of Sunspot

Date:
October 10, 2005
Source:
National Solar Observatory
Summary:
Advanced technologies now available at the National Science Foundation's Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, NM, are revealing striking details inside sunspots and hint at features remaining to be discovered in solar activity. These features hold the key to understanding the magnetic structure of sunspots and can only be seen in ultra high-resolution images such as this one. Magnetism in solar activity is the "dark energy problem" being tackled in solar physics today.

In this version, a NASA image of Earth is added for scale, and both Earth and sunspot are artificially blurred on the left half to simulate normal, uncorrected seeing through Earth's atmosphere.
Credit: Friedrich Woeger, KIS, and Chris Berst and Mark Komsa, NSO/AURA/NSF

Advanced technologies now available at the National ScienceFoundation's Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, NM, are revealingstriking details inside sunspots and hint at features remaining to bediscovered in solar activity.

This image, spanning an area more than three times wider than Earth,was made possible by the Dunn's recently completed AO76 advancedadaptive optics image correction system and a new high-resolution CCDcamera.

The Dunn is the nation's premier high-resolution solar telescope.The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy operates theDunn as part of the National Solar Observatory under a cooperativeagreement with the NSF.

This ultrasharp image of sunspot AR 10810 shows several objects ofcurrent scientific interest. G-band bright points, which indicate thepresence of small-scale magnetic flux tubes, are seen near the sunspotand between several granules (columns of hot gas circulating upward).

The dark cores of penumbral fibrils and bright penumbral grains areseen as well in the sunspot penumbra (the fluted structures radiatingoutward from the spot). These features hold the key to understandingthe magnetic structure of sunspots and can only be seen in ultrahigh-resolution images such as this one. Magnetism in solar activity isthe "dark energy problem" being tackled in solar physics today.

Normally such features are beyond the grasp of ground-based solartelescopes because of blurring by Earth's turbulent atmosphere. TheDunn's AO76 system compensates for much of that blurring by reshaping adeformable mirror 130 times a second to match changes in the atmosphereand refocuses incoming light. This allows the Dunn to operate at itsdiffraction limit (theoretical best) of 0.14 arc-second resolution,rather than the 1.0 to 0.5 arc-second resolution normally allowed byEarth's atmosphere.

The Dunn has two high-order adaptive optics benches, the onlytelescope in the world with two systems, which enhances instrumentsetup and operations.

This image was built from a series of 80 images, each 1/100th of asecond long (10 ms), taken over a period of 3 seconds by ahigh-resolution Dalsa 4M30 CCD camera in its first observing run afterbeing added to the Dunn. Speckle imaging reconstruction then compilesthe 80 images and greatly reduces residual seeing aberrations.

The camera is part of the equipment suite for the Dunn'sDiffraction-Limited Spectropolarimeter, which is designed to analyzemagnetic field strength and direction inside sunspots.

The Dunn and its new systems are available for the world solar physics community to use.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Solar Observatory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Solar Observatory. "Adaptive Optics Produces Ultrasharp Images Of Sunspot." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051010094317.htm>.
National Solar Observatory. (2005, October 10). Adaptive Optics Produces Ultrasharp Images Of Sunspot. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051010094317.htm
National Solar Observatory. "Adaptive Optics Produces Ultrasharp Images Of Sunspot." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051010094317.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins