Solar Terrain: Revealing the sun's complex topography | Science News

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Solar Terrain: Revealing the sun's complex topography

11:40am, June 25, 2003

The sun is no smoothie. The sharpest images of the sun ever taken, released last week, show a rugged surface with gargantuan mesas and valleys formed of scalding gas.

The sun's surface is textured with short-lived structures, known as granules, each as big as Texas. "Up until now, we saw granules as flat pancakes with no apparent height or detailed structure," says lead researcher Tom Berger of Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, Calif. The new images, captured with the Swedish Solar Telescope in La Palma, Spain (SN: 11/16/02, p. 310: Available to subscribers at Something New on the Sun), show some granular structures th

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