See: The Most Detailed Image Ever of the Whole Sun

This week, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the highest resolution photo of the sun ever taken.

The image includes the corona, full disc, and the outer atmosphere of the sun.

“The images were taken when Solar Orbiter was at a distance of roughly 75 million kilometres, halfway between our world and its parent star,” says the ESA report on the image. That’s nearer to the sun than Venus but not quite as close as Mercury.

The sun as seen by Solar Orbiter in extreme ultraviolet light. An image of Earth is included for scale, at the two o’clock position. Image courtesy of ESA

 

The high-resolution telescope onboard the spacecraft takes such high spatial resolution that it needed to take a mosaic of 25 individual images to cover the entire sun. The full image took more than four hours to compile.

How many pixels?

This hi-res image is a whopping 83 million pixels in a 9148 x 9112-pixel grid. That’s 10 times better than a 4K TV.

The Orbiter took these images on March 7, 2022, at the exact moment that it crossed the Sun-Earth line.

While this record-setting image is impressive, it’s just a start. Over the next few years, the spacecraft — a collaboration between the ESA and NASA — will capture many more high-resolution images of the sun. It is also recording the solar wind particles that flow outward from the sun.

Throughout its journey, it will also gradually shift its orbit to view the sun’s previously unobserved polar regions.

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expiring_frog
expiring_frog
16 days ago

“… 83 million pixels in a 9148 x 9112-pixel grid. That’s 10 times better than a 4K TV.”

No, metrics of image quality roughly scale with linear resolution, not total number of pixels, all else being equal. 4K is 3840 x 2160, so the image in question is maybe 3 or 4 times “better”.