Solar Orbiter Mission Returns First Data, Snaps Closest Pictures of the Sun

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News: European Space Agency has released the closest pictures ever taken of the Sun captured by the Solar Orbiter Mission.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • Camp Fires: There are mini-flares on the sun that are millionths of the size of the Sun’s massive flares that are routinely observed by Earth telescopes.
  • Significance: These camp fires could have something to do with the heating process that makes the corona, the Sun’s outer atmosphere far hotter than its surface.

Additional Facts:

  • Solar Orbiter Mission: It is a space mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA launched in February 2020.
  • Aim: To perform close-up, high-resolution studies of the Sun and inner heliosphere.
  • Objectives:
    • Study solar wind and where does the coronal magnetic field originate from
    • Study how solar transients drive heliospheric variability
    • Study how solar eruptions produce energetic particle radiation that fills the heliosphere
    • Understand how the solar dynamo works and drive connections between the Sun and the heliosphere.
  • Solar Flares: It is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspot.