NASA has managed to capture the sharpest images of our Sun’s corona ever, thanks to the rocket mounted High Resolution Coronal Imager (or Hi-C, if you will). The suborbital excursion lasted for only about 10 minutes, but the telescope managed to snag about 150 generous 16 megapixel images.
Given the picture subject, the images were captured in the high-ultraviolet range using a new optics set implementing a mirror array. The end result was the equivalent viewing of a mere 135 miles, way too close for physical comfort.
NASA had timed the photo session to coincide with peak solar activity, and the result is a beautiful glimpse into the activity on a large and very active sunspot. Check out the beautiful footage in the video below.
A corona is a type of plasma “atmosphere” of the Sun or other celestial body, extending millions of kilometers into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but also observable in a coronagraph. The Latin root of the word corona means crown.