the Sun Never had been photographed as ready and as finely ! These are exceptional images that the team of the mission Solar Orbiter of the european space Agency, launched to study our star in the 10 February last, has just unveiled. The Fruits of the functional tests of the instruments of the orbiter – ten in number of which seven telescopes, their quality exceeds the expectations of the scientists. "Compared to images of reference of the mission SDO Nasa, these pictures of Solar Orbiter has a resolution about two times higher ", accurate to the Point Anne Pacros, head of mission and payload of the probe to which this success crown nearly a decade of work. Solar Orbiter is the promise of a great leap forward in the knowledge of an object as familiar to us as mysterious.
Subject to the analysis, these first images, taken in may and June while the probe was still 77 million kilometers from the Sun (its orbit ultimately to lead to only 42 million kilometers), it is already possible not only to observe new details of known phenomena, but also reveal other hitherto gone unnoticed ! In particular, eruptions thumbnails close to the surface which have been called the "camp fires" and that could contribute to the heating of the solar corona. "Because, even if these camp fires are small, there are so many that their role could be non-trivial," says Anne Pacros.
These first images of the Sun obtained with the EUI (Extreme Ultraviolet Imager) for Solar Orbiter, may 30, 2020, to reveal the existence of solar flares miniatures, dubbed the "camp fires" (with an arrow on the photo). © Solar Orbiter / EUI Team / ESA & NASA; CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD / WRC, ROB, UCL / MSSL
even as its scientific mission, strictly speaking, is only due to start in November 2021, Solar Orbiter is therefore can already be the key of one of the most intriguing mysteries that she is in charge of elucidate : to understand why the solar corona is so hot (over a million degrees), much more than the surface of the star (5 500 degrees approximately), yet significantly closer to the nuclear reactions to the origin of its energy. The other challenge of this mission, equally important, concerns the processes that govern the variations in the magnetic field and the solar winds that propel it in the space of intense particle fluxes. Because, although the origin of the splendid aurora borealis, these can be harmful to the human technologies as well as for the astronauts journey through the solar system.Updated Date: 16 July 2020, 15:33