NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array NuSTAR was initially designed to observe distant galaxies searching for Black Holes, but NASA has recently been employing the telescope at the Sun in order to take close up pictures of our home star’s atmosphere.
Fiona Harrison who is the principal investigator for NuSTAR at California Institute of Technology CALTECH has stated: “At first I thought the whole idea was crazy; why would, we look into our own backyard with the most sensitive high energy X-ray telescope ever built which was in reality designed to look deep into the universe.”
After years of convincing, Harrison eventually gave the nod to use NuSTAR to look up into the decades old riddle that why the atmospheric temperature of our Sun is so odd?
The corona of our Sun has a very high temperature of about 1 million degrees Celsius as compared to the actual surface which is relatively quite cooler at 6,000 degrees Celsius. This is a serious disparity and one that has confused researchers for many decades.
David Smith who is a solar physicist and also a member of the NuSTAR team at University of California in Santa Cruz stated: “NuSTAR shall provide us the opportunity to look at the Sun from an entirely different perspective and we would be able to gaze from the deepest to the highest parts of its atmosphere. NuSTAR is quite unique in its operational activity and we would be able to see even the faintest X-Ray activity occurring in the solar atmosphere of the Sun.”