Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time directly observed granulation patterns on the surface of a star outside the Solar System — the aging red giant π1 Gruis.

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A remarkable image from the PIONIER instrument reveals the convective cells that make up the surface of this huge star, which is 350 times larger than the Sun. Each cell covers more than a quarter of the star’s diameter and measures about 120 million kilometers across.

The video is available in 4K UHD.