The solar probe built by the European Space Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provided the closest photos ever to the surface of the sun, revealing the landscape of thousands of tiny solar flares, which scientists call “bonfires” “And provided clues about the extreme high temperature of the outermost layer. Its atmosphere.

David Berghmans, chief researcher of the ultraviolet imager of the Royal Observatory’s Solar Orbiter, told reporters: “When the first image appeared, my first thought was,’This is impossible-no It might be that good.’ Thursday.

Sun image taken by the solar orbiter
Image source: NASA

The spacecraft was launched from Florida in February and used the probe’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager to take these images in late May as it orbited the sun’s surface nearly 48 million miles (77 million kilometers) at approximately Half the distance between the sun and the earth.

It is believed that “bonfires” are tiny explosions, called nanoflares, which can explain why the outer corona of the sun is 300 times higher than the surface of a star. Scientists are waiting for more data from other instruments on the spacecraft to confirm.

ESA’s solar orbiter project scientist Daniel Mueller said: “We have never used a camera to approach the sun like we do now. This is just the beginning of a long and epic journey to the solar orbiter.”

Scientists usually rely on Earth telescopes to observe the surface of the sun. But the Earth’s atmosphere limits the amount of visible light required to collect as close sight as the solar orbiter obtains.

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Sun image taken by the solar orbiter
Image source: NASA

The spacecraft also carries plasma sampling equipment to provide researchers with more data.

Holly Gilbert, NASA solar orbiter project scientist, said: “This combination really allows us to establish links and connections with what is happening on the sun and what is happening on the spacecraft.”

The main task of the solar orbiter is to examine the polar regions of the sun, which will help researchers understand the origin of solar wind, charged particles explode through our solar system and affect satellites and electronic devices on the earth.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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