Nasa's High Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) telescope has captured stunning images of the sun's corona. Scientists claim that these images will help them understand more about the solar atmosphere and its impact on the earth's space environment.
The Hi-C telescope images of the sun are five times higher in resolution than any other space telescope images. The images give a clearer idea about the sun's atmosphere.
"These revolutionary images of the sun demonstrate the key aspects of Nasa's sounding rocket programme, namely the training of the next generation of principal investigators, the development of new space technologies, and scientific advancements," said Barbara Giles, director for Nasa's Heliophysics Division, in a statement.
The Hi-C telescope was launched on 11 July, 2012 to study the large active region on the sun with some images revealing the dynamic structure of the solar atmosphere in fine detail. HiC images were taken in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength, optimal for viewing the hot solar corona.
"We have an exceptional instrument and launched at the right time," said Jonathan Cirtain, senior heliophysicist at Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "Because of the intense solar activity we're seeing right now, we were able to clearly focus on a sizeable, active sunspot and achieve our imaging goals."
Scientists claim that the telescope captures images of the sun every five seconds and its resolution is five times higher than the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument in Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
According to the scientists, the telescope is designed to study the sun's corona as well as the mechanisms for growth, diffusion and reconnection of magnetic fields of the corona. They claim the data will help them understand more about the behaviour of the solar atmosphere.
"This instrument could push the limits on theories of coronal heating, answering questions such as why the temperature of the sun's corona is millions of degrees higher than that of the surface," said Dr Jonathan Cirtain, heliophysicist at the Nasa.
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