The European Photo voltaic Orbiter spacecraft took the highest-resolution video ever of the higher layer of the solar’s ambiance, the corona.
The spacecraft, launched in 2020, took the picture sequence throughout its current shut method to the solar, or perihelion, on Oct. 13. The video sequence, taken with Photo voltaic Orbiter‘s Excessive Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), reveals the corona in a tranquil, nearly immobile, state. The obvious calm is sort of shocking as a result of the solar’s exercise has just lately been selecting up as a result of star‘s 11-year cycle of exercise.
The corona is the puzzling outermost area of the solar’s ambiance that extends thousands and thousands of miles or kilometers into outer area. The corona is extraordinarily scorching, over 1.8 million levels Fahrenheit (1 million levels Celsius), a lot hotter than the solar’s floor, which has solely about 10,000 F (6,000 C). This area is the supply of coronal mass ejections, bursts of magnetized plasma that may intrude with Earth’s magnetic area and set off geomagnetic storms, inflicting auroras, energy blackouts and satellite tv for pc glitches.
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Photo voltaic Orbiter took the video sequence when it was 27 million miles (43 million km) from the solar’s floor, about 29% of the Earth-sun distance, which is nearer than the orbit of the photo voltaic system‘s innermost planet, Mercury.
Every pixel within the video covers an space 65 miles extensive (105 km), which signifies that 17 Earths would match throughout the picture, in accordance with a assertion (opens in new tab) from the European House Company (ESA), which manages the mission.
The arches of brilliant plasma seen within the sequence are held in place by highly effective magnetic loops that emanate from the solar’s inside, ESA added.
Photo voltaic Orbiter is considered one of two spacecraft at the moment exploring the solar up shut. NASA’s Parker Photo voltaic Probe makes deeper dives towards the star’s floor, however Photo voltaic Orbiter takes photos from a better viewpoint than any spacecraft earlier than. The atmosphere within the area the place Parker Photo voltaic Probe travels, just a few million miles above the solar’s floor, is simply too scorching for an imaging instrument to outlive.
Collectively, the 2 spacecraft are serving to scientists perceive the solar’s conduct. Though the solar is our closest star, there’s nonetheless lots about it that puzzles scientists, like why the corona is so scorching nor how precisely the solar’s 11-year exercise cycle works.
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