The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have released photographs of the Sun from the closest distance on record to the public.
Published images were transmitted to Earth from the board of the Solar Orbiter spacecraft launched in February this year. This automatic station is designed for a comprehensive study of our star and its inner heliosphere. Ten different instruments are used to obtain data onboard the vehicle.
These photographs were taken from a distance of approximately 77 million kilometers from the surface of the Sun. The images clearly show the so-called “solar bonfires” – phenomena that are similar to solar flares, but with a scale of millions of times smaller. In the future, experts expect to collect more information about these formations, in particular, to determine their temperature.
“ We didn’t expect to get such amazing results so early. These images suggest that Solar Orbiter has excellent prospects, ”experts say.
In addition, the spacecraft collected the first information about the zones of magnetic activity on the Sun. Finally, data on the solar wind was obtained.
The main mission of Solar Orbiter is seven years. During this time, a lot of important scientific information will be collected that will help uncover the secrets of our star. Additional images of the Sun from the Solar Orbiter can be viewed here.