Solar Orbiter sent back to Earth the most detailed picture of the Sun in the world

(ORDO NEWS) — In fact, the space probe took several dozen photographs, from which scientists assembled the final super picture.

Since launching in February 2020, the Solar Orbiter probe has targeted the Sun with a suite of instruments designed to unravel some of its secrets.

Among them is an advanced ultraviolet imager currently used by Mission Control to capture the highest resolution image of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.

The incredibly detailed image was taken by NASA’s Extreme Ultraviolet Thermal Imager and ESA’s Solar Orbiter, which shoots at the wavelength needed to image the Sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, where temperatures are around 1,000,000°C.

On March 7, the spacecraft was at a distance of about 75 million kilometers from the Sun and took 25 separate images over the course of four hours, from which NASA specialists assembled the final image as a huge mosaic. The resulting output has over 83 million pixels in a 9,148 x 9,112 pixel grid, about 10 times the resolution of a 4K TV.

At the same time, the probe’s Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment (SPICE) instrument was used to image the Sun at the wavelength of ultraviolet light emitted by various atoms.

This allows him to look under the corona and measure the temperature of the Sun in a layer known as the chromosphere.

Solar Orbiter sent back to Earth the most detailed picture of the Sun in the world 2

Purple is hydrogen gas at 10,000°C, blue is carbon at 32,000°C, green is oxygen at 320,000°C, and yellow is neon at 630,000°C.

Ideas like these will help scientists understand how the temperature rises in the Sun’s atmospheric layers, which, contrary to intuition, are much higher in the corona than at the surface (about 5,000 °C).


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