Solar Orbiter probe captures closest pictures ever taken of the Sun

  

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.

The arrow indicates a small "campfire" with the scale of the Earth marked in the lower left corner.

The arrow indicates a small “campfire” with the scale of the Earth marked in the lower left corner. (Image credit: Solar Orbiter/EUI Team/ESA & NASA; CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL) (ESA and NASA)

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.”

“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.”

This full size view of the sun was taken by the Solar Orbiter on May 30, 2020.

This full size view of the sun was taken by the Solar Orbiter on May 30, 2020. (Image credit: Solar Orbiter/EUI Team (ESA & NASA); CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL) (ESA and NASA)

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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