Daily briefing: Highest-resolution images ever taken of the Sun show roiling plasma


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The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope has produced the highest resolution image of the Sun’s surface ever taken.

This is the highest-resolution image of the Sun ever taken.Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA

The first images from the world’s most powerful solar telescope show churning plasma in amazing detail. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii can study objects as small as 35 kilometres across, from a distance of 150 million kilometres. The telescope will also make the most precise measurements of the Sun’s magnetic field, including the first-ever magnetic measurements in the corona.

Nature | 4 min read

Hundreds of millions of desert locusts, in swarms larger than cities, are ravaging East Africa. Kenya has been the worst hit — it has not seen locusts on this scale for 70 years — but the infestation has also struck Ethiopia and Somalia. Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) have been breeding in large numbers because of unusual weather patterns, including heavy rains. Aid agencies are appealing for urgent help, including dropping pesticides from the air.

BBC | 3 min read

Features & opinion

The worst-case climate scenario agreed by scientists was a dystopian future without any climate mitigation, leading to nearly 5 °C of warming by the end of the century. “Happily — and that’s a word we climatologists rarely get to use” — [that scenario] becomes increasingly implausible with every passing year,” write climate scientists Zeke Hausfather and Glen Peters. They call time on its misuse as ‘business as usual’ and urge policymakers to use a more-realistic baseline of around 3 °C of warming above pre-industrial levels — which would still be a “catastrophic outcome”.

Nature | 9 min read

Line graph showing various possible outcomes for future fossil-fuel emissions to the year 2100

Sources: Historical data: Global Carbon Budget (2019); SSP data: ref. 19/J. Rogelj et al. Nature Clim. Change 8, 325–332 (2018)/SSP Database (v2); IEA data: Ref. 7

When it comes to sharing scientific findings, “facts and evidence rarely help as much as scientists think”, says science communicator Craig Cormick. To open the door to understanding, tell a good story and link your research to shared values, rather than firing off facts.

Nature | 5 min read

The outdated scientific culture of overwork, stress and exploitation isn’t good for scientists, their safety or the quality of their research output, argues chemist David Smith. To turn things around, we should choose lab leaders without “snap judgements based on scientific background, ‘parentage’ or papers published and citations gained, and focus instead directly on the qualities and ideas of the candidates themselves,” he says.

Nature Chemistry | 9 min read

Quote of the day

Most dietary supplements don’t do anything, and the ones that do are potentially dangerous, says physician Peter Lurie, the president of the food-and-health watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest. (The Washington Post)

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