Solar Orbiter gives scientists an unprecedented look at the Sun


PTI, Jul 16, 2020, 9:34 PM IST

Paris: Scientists said Thursday they had obtained the closest ever images taken of the Sun as part of a pan-European mission to study solar winds and flares that could have far-reaching impacts back on Earth.

The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral in February and completed its first fly by of our star last month, sending back unprecedented images of phenomena close to its surface.

“The first images are exceeding our expectations,” said Daniel Muller, Solar Orbiter project scientist at ESA.

“We can already see hints of very interesting phenomena that we have not been able to observe in detail before.

“This makes us confident that Solar Orbiter will help us answer profound open questions about the Sun.”

In particular, the team observed dozens of miniature solar flares, known as “campfires”, which until now had never been captured on film.

David Berghmans, from Belgium’s Royal Observatory, said the campfires were several million times smaller than solar flares, which can be observed from Earth.

“The Sun seems relatively calm on first viewing but when you look at it in detail you can see miniature eruptions everywhere,” he said.

Solar winds and flares emit billions of highly charged particles that impact planets, including Earth. But the phenomena remain poorly understood despite decades of research.

The largest solar storm on record hit North America in September 1859, knocking out much of the continent’s telegraph network and bathing the skies in an aurora viewable as far away as the Caribbean.

Solar ejections can also disrupt radar systems, radio networks and can even render satellites useless, though such extremes are rare.

During its first orbit, the craft — developed in conjunction with NASA — travelled around 77 million kilometres (48 million miles) from the surface, about half the distance between the Sun and Earth.

Equipped to withstand temperatures as high as 500 degrees Celsius (930 Fahrenheit), it will eventually travel as close as 40 million kilometres from the surface, protecting its instruments with a heat-resistant structure that will be exposed to sunlight 13 times stronger than on Earth.

Its operators plan to gradually tilt the craft’s orbit, enabling scientists to obtain the first ever images of the Sun’s poles.

The Solar Orbiter mission is set to last up to nine years at a cost of some 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion).

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

PM Modi and Russian President Putin discuss state of global energy & food markets

Senior Congress leader draws flak for remark on former PM Deve Gowda

Stolen 17th century Tamil bible traced to London after 17 years

Army, Navy begin recruitment under Agnipath scheme

Datta Peeta issue: State cabinet gives nod for appointing Hindu priest

Sindhu loses to nemesis Tai Tzu Ying, Prannoy also exits from Malaysia Open

Shivamogga: At least 40 injured as buses collide head-on


Related Articles More

How your brainwaves could be used in criminal trials

ISRO successfully launches PSLV-C53 with three Singapore satellites onboard

The iPhone turns 15: A look at the past (and future) of one of the 21st century’s most influential devices

54% in India turn to social media for factual info: OUP study

CERT-In gives more time for VPNs to comply with new cyber security norms

MUST WATCH

How to earn God’s grace?

NEW BULLETIN 01-07-2022

Heavy Rain Mallar Urdu school Damage

Heavy rain at kaup area

Banana cultivation : Success story of a farmer


Latest Additions

PM Modi and Russian President Putin discuss state of global energy & food markets

Senior Congress leader draws flak for remark on former PM Deve Gowda

Stolen 17th century Tamil bible traced to London after 17 years

Bantwal: Father-son duo arrested for running Illegal cattle slaughterhouse

Army, Navy begin recruitment under Agnipath scheme

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.