All is not calm on the sun. Newly released images show turbulent solar plasma: Charged particles that rise to the surface of the star, forming convection cells the size of Texas, which cool and descend back into the sun’s depths.
The images, from the nearly complete Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, are the most zoomed-in examinations of that turbulence. They reveal structures as small as 18.6 miles on the surface of the sun, which has a diameter of nearly 870,000 miles. The new details are five times smaller than any solar image had captured before, said Thomas Rimmele, the telescope’s director.
Volcanoes on Venus may still be smoking
Venus is our toxic twin. Its chemical makeup, size and density are similar to our world’s, but its temperatures can melt lead and its atmosphere is rife with sulfuric acid. But it may be even more Earthlike than we knew.
A paper in Science Advances demonstrates that Venus might still harbor active volcanoes. Justin Filiberto, a planetary scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and his team heated olivine — commonly found in volcanic rock — to about 1,600 degrees and exposed it to oxygen, also found on Venus. The outer grains of olivine rapidly transformed into iron oxide. Because olivine disappears quickly, the discovery of evidence of the mineral on Venus would signify young lava flows.
The researchers studied archived data from the Venus Express orbiter and found that the lava flows dated at 250,000 years old contained olivine — proof that they were only a few years old. “It means that Venus is a lot more like Earth than we thought,” Filiberto said.