(CNN)Sunspots -- dark areas on the sun -- help scientists track activity on the surface of our solar system's star. These dark spots are the origin point for the explosive flares and ejections that release light, solar material and energy into space.
'Unprecedented' high-res image of sunspot captured by new solar telescope
This "space weather" caused by the sun is important to understand because it can impact the power grid, satellites, GPS, airlines, rockets and astronauts working in space.
The National Science Foundation's Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, a new solar observatory based in Hawaii, has released its first image of the sun, which captures that activity in striking detail.
"While the start of telescope operations has been slightly delayed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this image represents an early preview of the unprecedented capabilities that the facility will bring to bear on our understanding of the Sun," said David Boboltz, NSF program director for the Inouye Solar Telescope, in a statement.