Last update: April 11th, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Today’s Image of the Day from NASA is a mosaic of solar images that were captured by three different telescopes on April 29, 2015. Extreme ultraviolet light combined with solar X-rays
High-energy X-rays from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) are shown in blue, while low-energy X-rays from Japan’s Hinode spacecraft appear in green. In addition, extreme ultraviolet light from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is yellow and red. Extreme ultraviolet light combined with solar X-rays
NuSTAR is typically used to look deeper into space to observe X-rays from supernovas and black holes, but it can also look safely at the sun and capture images of its high-energy X-rays.One of the first people to offer a scientific or philosophical explanation for the Sun was the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras. He reasoned that it was not the chariot of Helios, but instead a giant flaming ball of metal even larger than the land of the Peloponnesus and that the Moon reflected the light of the Sun. For teaching this heresy, he was imprisoned by the authorities and sentenced to death, though he was later released through the intervention of Pericles. Eratosthenes estimated the distance between Earth and the Sun in the 3rd century BC as “of stadia myriads 400 and 80000”, the translation of which is ambiguous, implying either 4,080,000 stadia (755,000 km) or 804,000,000 stadia (148 to 153 million kilometers or 0.99 to 1.02 AU); the latter value is correct to within a few percent. In the 1st century AD, Ptolemy estimated the distance as 1,210 times the radius of Earth, approximately 7.71 million kilometers (0.0515 AU).
The theory that the Sun is the center around which the planets orbit was first proposed by the ancient Greek Aristarchus of Samos in the 3rd century BC, and later adopted by Seleucus of Seleucia (see Heliocentrism). This view was developed in a more detailed mathematical model of a heliocentric system in the 16th century by Nicolaus Copernicus.
Observations of sunspots were recorded during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) by Chinese astronomers, who maintained records of these observations for centuries. Averroes also provided a description of sunspots in the 12th century. The invention of the telescope in the early 17th century permitted detailed observations of sunspots by Thomas Harriot, Galileo Galilei and other astronomers. Galileo posited that sunspots were on the surface of the Sun rather than small objects passing between Earth and the Sun
Image Credit: NASA