The solar orbiter Mission will soon make its closest passage through the Sun, and is expected to capture some amazing images that show some of the mysterious behavior of the solar system's central star. solar orbiter is a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with NASA, which was launched in February 2020. The spacecraft first passed by the sun in June 2020, capturing a buzz of imaging miniature flares or "campfire fires" that had never been recorded before.
The solar orbiter was about halfway between the Earth and the Sun, about 77 million kilometers away, but the next passage will be even closer. "From this point on, as far as solar orbit observations are concerned, we are entering the unknown," said Daniel Mller, a solar orbiter project scientist. The cargo will be photographed from a distance of 48 million kilometers from the sun. So far, no spacecraft has taken a camera from this close distance to the sun, which means that the solar orbiter will break its 2020 record.
- "What I've been waiting for the most is to understand all of
these dynamic features," said Louise Harra, director of the Global
Radiation Center at the Meteorological Observatory and one of the
mission's chief inspectors. Miniature flares) to see if they can
reach the solar wind; Because there are so many.
solar wind is a constant stream of particles emanating from the sun and can cause geomagnetic storms on Earth. This phenomenon can interfere with electrical networks and damage satellites orbiting the planet. About 40 Starlink SpaceX satellites were recently shut down for this reason.
Scientists want to know if these solar camp fires, each between 400 and 4,000 kilometers wide, release their energy into space. ? If so, this explains why the sun's outer atmosphere, known as the solar corona, is so hot. 5500 degrees Celsius is much hotter. The difference between surface temperature and the solar corona challenges logic because materials farther away from the heat source must be colder.
To understand how the sun affects not only its surroundings but the entire solar system, The orbiter solar Probe uses a set of ten scientific instruments to measure the star as well as the surroundings of the spacecraft. The closest transit will take place on March 26 (April 6), but the solar orbiter will spend a total of three weeks closer to Mercury, the innermost planet in the solar system, to the Sun.
As the solar orbiter approaches Towards the center of the solar system, other spacecraft that are much closer to Earth help. Japan's Hinode mission, NASA's Mid-Range Imaging Spectroscope (IRIS) and the European Space Agency's solar and Horsepower Observatory (SOHO) will monitor the effects of the space climate.
"This link science is one of the main drivers of the solar orbiter mission. Even if no major event occurs, there is still a lot of scientific data that can be used to analyze the evolution of an outward set of solar winds," Europe said. "The solar system is moving, it's effective."
Another solar observation spacecraft, NASA's Parker solar Probe, is approaching the epoch. With a powerful shield at its closest transit so far, the spacecraft reached 8.5 million kilometers above the Sun's surface, which is 14 times closer to Mercury's orbit. It will reach 42 million kilometers above the surface of the sun. In the future, during this mission, the spacecraft's orbit will be tilted relative to the plane of the zodiac in which the planets rotate, so that for the first time in history, its cameras will be able to look directly at the sun's poles.
Cover photo : Graphic design of European solar orbiter while traveling to the sun