For the first time, a NASA telescope designed to search for black holes and other objects in space has snapped an image of the sun.
Scientist hope NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR will provide a more complete picture of the sun, including providing insight into the incredibly high temperatures found above sunspots.
"NuSTAR will give us a unique look at the sun, from the deepest to the highest parts of its atmosphere," said David Smith, a solar physicist and member of the NuSTAR team at University of California, Santa Cruz.
The NuSTAR telescope is the most sensitive high energy X-ray telescope ever built, according to NASA. And though it was not designed to look at something as close and familiar as the sun, it can see things other scopes can't. While the sun is too bright for other telescopes, NuSTAR can safely look at it without the risk of damaging its detectors.
The reds in the picture represent ultraviolet light and the presence of materials at around 1 million degrees, while the bursts of green and blue show high-energy X-ray emissions coming from gas heated to above 3 million degrees.
Scientists hope future images could unravel several mysteries about the sun, such as the hypothesized dark matter particles called axions. Scientists theorize that dark matter -- a mysterious material that has mass but cannot be seen -- makes up a quarter of the universe, but so far experiments in space and on Earth have failed to confirm its presence.
The telescope could also help in the search for the presence of nanoflares -- smaller versions of the sun's giant flares that erupt with charged particles and high-energy radiation.