Watch: What the surface of the sun really looks like

It looks like skin, if you photographed it really close up and it was covered in boiling lava. But it's actually the sun.

NASA has released footage of the sun's surface, known as the photosphere, shot like never before.

It was recorded on a Swedish-owned telescope in Spain and shows "dark regions of sunspots, and solar granules changing with time" according to astrophysicist Tom Bridgman.

"These granules are the tops of convection cells where hot gas rises from the interior to cool and then descend back down."

The sun is huge - you could fit 109 Earths from one pole to the other. This close-up shows an area only three Earths high and four wide - 46,900km by 33,500km.

"The goal of the observations was to better understand the methods by which non-thermal energy is injected into the solar chromosphere by mechanisms such as emerging magnetic fields in sunspots," said Bridgman.

The chromosphere is a few thousand kilometres thick, and actually cooler than the corona, which is the outer layer.

The photosphere itself is about 100km thick - as a ball of gas, the sun doesn't really have a defined surface. 



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