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The highest-resolution photo of the Sun's surface ever taken. Photo: NSO/NSF/AURA

New photos and videos reveal the surface of the Sun in sharper detail than ever before.

Why it matters: Images and videos like these taken by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii can help scientists understand the inner workings of our nearest star, potentially helping predict dangerous space weather in the future.

Details: The scale of the new images is immense. Each of the bright cells bubbling up on the Sun's surface is about the size of Texas.

  • The plasma gets its unique, popcorn-like look due to "violent motions" within the Sun that move heat from the star's interior outward to its surface, according to the NSF.
  • The hottest plasma moves into the centers of the cells before cooling and sinking, according to the NSF.
  • "I’m extremely excited to be positioned to observe the first sunspots of the new solar cycle just now ramping up with this incredible telescope," Thomas Rimmele, the solar telescope's director, said in a statement.

The bottom line: Scientists hope to use photos and other data gathered by the new telescope to help predict solar storms — bursts of charged particles streaming from the Sun that can put spacecraft and people in space or even power grids on Earth in danger.

Go deeper: Our violent Sun

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
45 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.