Solar Orbiter revealed unprecedented details of the solar corona

ESA has published a video made by the Solar Orbiter probe. It shows the solar corona in record high resolution.

Unprecedented images of the solar corona

Solar Orbiter passed the perihelion of its orbit on October 12, passing at a distance of 0.29 AU (43.4 million km) from the surface of our luminary. This is less than the minimum possible distance between the Sun and Mercury.

The day after the rendezvous, Solar Orbiter took a picture of the solar corona using the EUI (Extreme Ultraviolet Imager) instrument. It managed to obtain the most detailed images of this region in history. Each pixel in the video covers 105 km of the solar surface. And the area of the entire frame is such that 17 Earth-sized planets would fit on it.

Waiting for maximum solar activity

The corona is the outer, most rarefied and hottest part of the solar atmosphere. It consists of plasma that is in constant motion, guided and accelerated by changes in the magnetic field of the star.

The sun through the eyes of the Solar Orbiter probe. Source: ESA

Solar Orbiter photographed a relatively calm area of the corona, without any special manifestations of activity. But it doesn’t always behave like that. Currently, the Sun is moving towards the next maximum of its activity (it is expected to be reached by 2025). This process will be accompanied by a gradual increase in the number of flares, solar wind disturbances and coronal mass ejections.

You can also read about how an amateur astronomer filmed a 1.6 million km plasma ejection.

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