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Solar Orbiter’s sun photos are as dramatic as you wanted

Credit: ESA

On March 26, ESA’s Solar Orbiter was the closest to the Sun so far. It adventured inside Mercury’s orbit, about one-third of the distance from Earth to the Sun. It was hot, but it was worth it.


The main mission of Solar Orbiter is to understand the relationship between the Sun and its heliosphere, and new images from the Sun. Approach approach It helps to build that understanding.

According to ESA, Solar Orbiter is the most complex scientific laboratory ever sent to the Sun. It has a robust suite of equipment such as magnetometers, Extreme Ultraviolet Imager and Solar WindPlasmaAnalyzer. With its wide range of equipment, you can observe sun events in a variety of ways.

Spacecraft benefit from being as close to the sun as possible. However, the solar orbiter gets hot when approaching.The first line of defense of the spacecraft Heat shield.. This is a multi-layer titanium device mounted on a honeycomb aluminum support with a carbon fiber skin designed to dissipate heat. There is an additional 28 layers of insulation between all of this and the spacecraft’s fuselage. During this approach, the heat shield reached 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees Fahrenheit).

Credit: ESA

The heat-protected solar orbiter has collected a lot of data with that approach. Scientists need more time to manipulate and understand it, but images and videos are immediately fascinating. One of the characteristics of the sun that attracted everyone’s attention is the “space hedgehog”.

Thanks to a little luck, the Sun gave a show while the Solar Orbiter was approaching.there were Solar flare, And even coronal mass ejections (CMEs) directed at the Earth. Solar Orbiter has several remote sensing devices that scientists have used to predict when CME will reach Earth.They announced their predictions Social media, And 18 hours later, Earth observers were ready to witness the resulting aurora. ESA has released a graphic that explains how it was done.

The following video features flare and CME images from Solar Orbiter’s three instruments: Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, Metis Coronagraph, and SoloHI, Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager.

Credit: ESA

Orbiter also provided the highest resolution images of the Sun’s Antarctic.

Scientists are interested in the sun’s poles because of how the sun’s magnetic field works. The magnetic field creates a strong but temporary area of ​​activity on the surface of the Sun, which is swept up and down to the poles before being swallowed by the Sun again. Scientists believe they somehow serve as the next seed of solar activity. Detailed images from the South Pole of the Sun should help researchers understand how this works.

In the sun video AntarcticThe bright areas are mainly magnetic loops that rise from inside the sun. They are called closed lines of magnetic force because the particles are difficult to cross them. Instead, the particles are trapped and emit extreme UV light. It is ready to be captured by Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI).

The dark areas of the video are the sun magnetic field The line is open. Instead of being trapped in particles, the gas can escape from these dark areas into space. It creates the solar wind.

Orbiter also captured images and data of the March 2 solar flare. The EUV imager (EUI) and X-ray spectrometer / telescope (STIX) equipment of the spacecraft show extreme ultraviolet energy and X when the solar atmospheric gas reaches a temperature of about 1 million degrees C (18,000,000 F). Captured flare when released. -Rays.

Credit: ESA

In the gif below, low energy X-rays are shown in red and high energy X-rays are shown in blue.

Credits: ESA & NASA / Solar Orbiter / EUI & STIX Teams

There are many more that come from Solar Orbiter. Over the next four years, spacecraft will encounter Venus for the fourth and fifth time. Each time you do so, the slope increases and you can see the sun’s poles more directly. By December 2026, it will tilt 24 degrees in orbit, marking the start of the spacecraft’s “high latitude” mission.

A solar orbiter journey around the sun. Credits: ESA / ATG medialab

These high-latitude observations allow scientists to see the polar gaze. The ESA states that these views are important for unraveling the complex magnetic pole environment of the Sun. It may help unravel the mystery of the sun’s 11-year cycle.

“We are very excited about the quality of the data from the first perihelion,” said Daniel Muller, ESA Project Scientist at Solar Orbiter. “It’s hard to believe that this is just the beginning of the mission. We’re really busy.”


Solar Orbiter crosses the Earth and the line of the Sun as it heads toward the Sun


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Solar Orbiter’s sun photos are as dramatic as you wanted

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