Bringing the Sun Into Focus

Spatial resolution is a measure of the amount of spatial detail a remote sensing device, like a solar telescope, can capture (resolve). If, for example, one observes an active region in the Sun's atmosphere with good spatial resolution then the loops, structure of the emission and other details are visible. With a telescope of poorer spatial resolution, these details merge until the active region can only be discerned as a shape. A telescope on a satellite at 150 million km distance from the Sun cannot resolve every detail. A certain area of the solar disk is merged into a single value, representing the amount of emitted solar energy produced by this area. These individual elements are referred to as pixels. Current satellites are capable of a spatial resolution ranging from 70 kilometers to two thousand kilometers.

These images of former President Obama demonstrate the effects of different spatial resolutions. Each higher level of resolution allows you to distinguish more detail.

multiple images of President Obama from fuzzy to clear

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