NSF’s Inouye Solar Telescope Releases First Image of a Sunspot

The U.S. NSF’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope just released its first image of a sunspot. The telescope’s four-meter primary mirror will give the best views of the Sun from Earth throughout the next solar cycle. This image is an indication of the telescope’s advanced optics. The image is released along with the first of a series of Inouye-related articles featured in the Solar Physics Journal.

Best Region For Life on Mars Was Far Below Surface

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

Mercury Transit Observed at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

About 13 times per century, fleeting Mercury can be seen passing directly in front of the Sun in what is called a transit. The most recent Mercury transit occurred on 11 November 11, 2019. While the path of Mercury across the Sun in fact traced a straight line, in this image the path appears to loop backwards due to an effect called field rotation as the telescope and camera track across the sky.

Super Spirals Spin Super Fast

Stars in the outer reaches of the Milky Way, including our Sun, orbit at an average speed of 130 miles per second. But that’s nothing compared to the most massive spiral galaxies. “Super spirals,” which are larger, brighter, and more massive than the Milky Way, spin even faster than expected for their mass, at speeds up to 350 miles per second.