The Solar Orbiter, a probe built and launched by NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) as a joint venture, returns its first data, snaps closest pictures ever taken of the Sun, revealing “campfires” on the star surface.
The probe was launched in February 2020 to study about the Sun and it has completed its first close pass of the Sun in mid-June.
According to the NASA, the probe is already revealing “previously unseen details” of the Sun including “campfires”, mini solar-flares on the sufface.
As shown in the above image, the newly recognized campfires are “million or billion” of times smaller than the giant solar flares often seen by the Earth’s telescopes.
“These unprecedented pictures of the Sun are the closest we have ever obtained,” said Holly Gilbert, NASA project scientist for the mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “These amazing images will help scientists piece together the Sun’s atmospheric layers, which is important for understanding how it drives space weather near the Earth and throughout the solar system.”
#SolarOrbiter has made its first close pass by the Sun, studying our star and space with a comprehensive suite of instruments — and the data is already revealing previously unseen details. This is #TheSunUpClose. https://t.co/rVMjz45DoY pic.twitter.com/YLKBXRNQZb— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) July 16, 2020
“The Sun has a relatively cool surface of about 5,500 degrees and is surrounded by a super-hot atmosphere of more than a million degrees” explained ESA project scientist Daniel Müller via BBC
“There’s a theory put forward by the great US physicist Eugene Parker, who conjectured that if you should have a vast number of tiny flares this might account for an omnipresent heating mechanism that could make the corona hot.”
Through the ESA’s gallery, You can see the new data including movies and images with detailed descriptions.
The Solar Orbiter will return more closer images of the Sun, revealing more secrets and new stories on our solar system very soon.
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