This giant sunspot is larger than the Earth

New images have been released from the world's largest solar observatory. The observatory is called the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope, and it is located on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Scientists took the image on January 28, 2020, but it has only been released to the public now. The giant sunspot seen in the center of the photo below is about 10,000 miles across.

Scientists say the sunspot is wide enough for the Earth to fit inside with a little room left. The National Science Foundation owns the telescope, and it released the image along with the video of the sunspot on Friday. Researchers say the sunspot image has a spatial resolution of about 2.5 times higher than previously achieved.

The resolution allows the image to show magnetic structures as small as 20 kilometers on the surface of the sun. While the telescope is the world's largest solar observatory, it is still in the final phases of completion. The image indicates how well the telescope's advanced optics and the four-meter primary mirror will allow scientists to view the Sun over the next solar cycle.

Scientists on the project point out that the image is not the same sunspot that can be seen on the sun now with the naked eye. It's also worth noting at this point that you can't look at the sun directly without special equipment. The paper detailing the sunspot seen in the image is the first in a series of articles featured in Solar Physics resulting from data collected by the observatory.

The streaky appearance in the darker center of the sunspot shows hot and cool gas spidering out from the darker center and is a result of sculpting by a convergence of intense magnetic fields and hot gases coming up from below. The dark sunspot is cooler than the surrounding area of the sun but is still extremely hot at more than 7500 degrees Fahrenheit.