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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

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."