Scientists spot sunspot with centre twice the size of Earth

The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) antennas had been carefully designed so they could image the Sun without being damaged by the intense heat of the focused light.Astronomers have harnessed ALMA’s capabilities to image the millimetre-wavelength light emitted by the Sun’s chromosphere – the region that lies just above the photosphere, which forms the visible surface of the Sun.Researchers including those from European Southern Observatory (ESO), produced the images as a demonstration of ALMA’s ability to study solar activity at longer wavelengths of light than are typically available to solar observatories on Earth.Astronomers have studied the Sun and probed its dynamic surface and energetic atmosphere in many ways through the centuries.However, to achieve a fuller understanding, astronomers need to study it across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including the millimetre and submillimetre portion that ALMA can observe.Researchers, including those from European Southern Observatory (ESO), produced the images as a demonstration of ALMA’s ability to study solar activity at longer wavelengths of light than are typically available to solar observatories.

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