Solar Orbiter captured a giant eruption on the Sun

(ORDO NEWS) — According to the European Space Agency, this is the largest prominence ever captured in a single full-disk image.

Solar Orbiter captured a giant eruption on the Sun

To date, it is the largest prominence photographed along with the full Sun. Fortunately, the outbreak did not occur on the opposite side of the star from us.

The Sun’s behavior is complex, and even the underlying mechanisms that drive its fusion reactions are not fully understood.

The 11-year cycles of activity occur within much longer solar cycles, measured in decades. During certain periods, called maxima, the Sun becomes very active during the 11-year cycle, it has a large number of sunspots. At other moments, called minima, the star becomes relatively quiet.

The Sun is currently in a period of near-minimum activity, but it can still produce surprises such as a giant prominence and a solar flare that occurred on February 15th.

This prominence, which is a massive ejection of hot gases from the Sun, going along the lines of the magnetic field, was located on the opposite side of the star from the Earth, therefore, it did not pose any danger. But if it were directed in our direction, it could damage communications, satellites, navigation, and even earth’s power systems.

A NASA and ESA instrument called the Solar Orbiter Full Sun Imager (FSI), which is a key part of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) spacecraft, was able to capture the entire prominence and the entire disk of the Sun in one image, giving scientists a complete picture of the event.

Solar Orbiter was able to do this because FSI operates in the extreme ultraviolet and can observe both the Sun and its atmosphere or corona at the same time.

With the help of an occulator, a small disk the size of a tennis ball, scientists can create a miniature eclipse and observe the part of the corona that may be hidden from view due to solar radiation in normal viewing mode.

And it was also a good time. Solar Orbiter is currently moving towards the closest point of its orbit to the Sun.

It will pass at a distance of about 44.9 million km from the star and will be able to see the solar polar regions. But at such a distance, the device will no longer be able to capture the prominence and the entire star in one image. So, we can say that the scientists were lucky.

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