NASA and the ESA’s Solar Orbiter is already making history and, of course, we’re happy to share that with you.
The new spacecraft’s first images of our home star and they’re the closest snaps yet of the big ball of fire.
In fact, the Solar Orbiter is already teaching scientists new things about the sun with many saying it has already been well worth it this early into the mission.
ESA’s Solar Orbiter Project Scientist Daniel Müller told the press, “These are only the first images and we can already see interesting new phenomena. We didn’t really expect such great results right from the start. We can also see how our ten scientific instruments complement each other, providing a holistic picture of the Sun and the surrounding environment.”
So what is the new phenomena that Müller is talking about? The “omnipresent miniature solar flares” are being called “campfires” to describe their relative size compared to larger solar flares. These mini solar flares are evident in the pictures the Solar Orbiter has sent back thus far and you can view one of them by clicking here. You can view an array of pictures by clicking here.
These flares are “a million to a billion” times smaller than those we witness on Earth.
As far as science is concerned, pictures like this will help scientists understand why the flares around the sun are actually hotter than the surface of the star itself. Understanding this is the so-called “holy grail of solar physics,” PetaPixel points out.
What do you think of these pictures of the sun? Do you keep up with the latest developments in astrophotography? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.
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