A new telescope built to study the Sun has released its first images. They show the surface of the Sun in the most exquisite detail we’ve ever seen – revealing convection granules the size of Texas, and tiny magnetic features – the roots of fields that extend far into space.
In an unbelievable coincidence, the moon is exactly four hundred times smaller than the Sun but four hundred times closer to the Earth, so that both the Sun and the Moon appear to be precisely the same size in the sky – which gives us the phenomenon we call a total eclipse.
The largest known star is 4,982,686,912 times bigger than the sun, and is only 9,500 light-years away. If placed at the center of the Solar System, its photosphere would engulf the orbit of Jupiter, although the radius is not known for certain and may be larger than the orbit of Saturn.
In 1859 there was a coronal mass ejection so intense it shocked telegraph operators and set their equipment on fire. Another such event missed Earth by just 9 days in 2012. Supposedly it was strong enough to take down our entire satellite system and cause significant damage to electrical grids on the ground. One paper even claims that it could have caused $2.6 Trillion in damages worldwide.