So you haven’t seen the sun yet. ESA showed footage in breathtaking detail

The European Space Agency (ESA) has published the most detailed shots of the Sun to date. They were acquired by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft, which approached the star this March she got at a distance corresponding to about one third of the distance of the Sun from the Earth.

According to ESA, the footage you can take at the beginning of the article is the best that has been taken so far.

Expert David Berghmans of the Royal Observatory in Belgium called them “breathtaking” in an official report from the agency. When he saw them, it was clear to him that even if the Solar Orbiter “stopped working tomorrow”, he would be busy studying the current footage and data for many years.

The Solar Orbiter launched on its way to the center of the solar system in February 2020 and is orbiting Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. ESA states that the probe’s temperature shields faced a temperature of about 500 ° C when the images were taken.

ESA said it was the closest approach to the Sun to date, but the spacecraft should get a little closer several times in the coming years.

In the video you can see the so-called “solar hedgehog” in the first half. Unfortunately, you will not read exactly what this is about, because even the scientists themselves cannot say that yet. In general, at least the “hedgehog” is spread over relatively small areas with a diameter of about 25,000 kilometers and its activity is observable in ultraviolet light.

In the second half of the video, you see the south pole of the Sun, a place that is very difficult to observe from the Earth, among other things because of its orbit, in which the star orbits the star.

For example, the main tasks of the Solar Orbiter are to help understand the processes in the solar corona (the outer layer of the solar atmosphere), the solar wind and much more. The sun, despite being the nearest star, is still largely unknown to scientists.

One of the main issues that the spacecraft could help to understand is the paradox that the solar corona is incomparably warmer than the star’s surface, which makes no sense in terms of current laws of thermodynamics.

In an interview with Seznam Zprávy, Michal Švanda, an expert from the Astronomical Institute of Charles University, described it as follows: But it is not so. (…) Already the solar chromosphere, which is just above the surface of the Sun, is about ten to twenty thousand degrees, and in the corona the temperatures rise to a million degrees, in some areas even more. “

Another dimension of the paradox is added by the fact that events in the solar corona affect life on Earth the most. You can read the whole interview here.

The probe is also exceptional from a purely Czech perspective. As many Czech devices as there are on it, namely was last on board a spacecraft last in the 1980s.

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