Short Lived Space Telescope Captures Highest Resolution Images of the Sun - Video

Solar braiding was also observed for the first time ever

By on January 24th, 2013 18:21 GMT

Astronomers may be looking at stars in distant galaxies, but they're looking at the star nearest to us as well, the sun. There are plenty of instruments constantly scanning the sun, but there's also a lot to learn.

A few months ago, NASA launched a short-lived space telescope, the High Resolution Coronal Imager or Hi-C, which had only one job to do, get the best images of the sun ever captured and then land back on Earth.

All of this took 10 minutes, during that time, the telescope got 300 seconds worth of data.

It may not seem like much, but it was the highest quality ever achieved and proved very useful to scientists. In fact, already, the images have revealed for the first time solar braiding.

Solar braiding is the transfer of energy from the sun's magnetic field to the corona, explaining how the solar atmosphere can be 50 to 100 times hotter than the surface of the sun. The phenomenon was predicted, but it hadn't been observed.