What does the Sun and its poles look like up close

(ORDO NEWS) — The sun is the main star of our planetary system. All the local planets, their satellites, as well as asteroids and other space objects revolve around it. From it we receive not only light and heat, but also various weather conditions.

What can we say, the state of the sun directly affects the well-being of some people! Scientists still do not know much about the structure of the Sun and the phenomena occurring on it, so research vehicles are sent to it from time to time.

In 2020, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Solar Orbiter into space to study the heliosphere – the so-called circumsolar space, which is filled with solar wind.

Recently, the device flew up to the Sun at a very close distance, found a plasma “hedgehog” there and took a video of the star. Yes, now we have a real video with the Sun!

The goal of the Solar Orbiter mission

The Solar Orbiter, developed by European scientists, is designed exclusively for studying the Sun. It is equipped with ten instruments with which it will study the activity of the star, monitor mass ejections, magnetic wind and solar wind acceleration mechanisms.

It is expected that the device will be able to work until 2030 and during this time it will make 22 approaches to the Sun. This is a very difficult task, because the temperature of the star is approximately 5,505 degrees Celsius.

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Rapprochement with the Sun can withstand not every device

In March 2022, the device made its fourth approach to the Sun. This time it was inside the orbit of Mercury, about one third of the distance from the Sun to the Earth.

He turned on all his ten scientific instruments, which are under a heat shield – according to scientists, the surface heated up to 500 degrees Celsius.

After that, the device began to transmit all the collected data. The process of studying the collected information took about two months and now, finally, the researchers presented the results of their work.

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Solar Orbiter Space Probe

What does the sun look like?

First of all, on May 18, European scientists published high-quality images of the Sun obtained by the EUI (Extreme Ultraviolet Imager) instrument.

From a scientific point of view, the image of the south pole of the Sun can be considered the most important image at the moment.

The fact is that the Earth is in orbit around the equator of a star, so earthly observatories cannot study its poles – they are simply not visible to us.

These areas can be photographed and video only by a device moving above or below the Sun. The Solar Orbiter probe became such a device. The device will send a full panorama of the poles between 2025 and 2029.

The polar regions of the Sun are considered very important because there are processes associated with magnetic fields.

Mysterious “hedgehog” on the surface of the Sun

The second interesting phenomenon on the Sun was the “hedgehog”, which was recorded by instruments on March 30th.

Scientists have given such an unusual name to the plasma formation on the surface of a star, which extends for 25 thousand kilometers and throws back many individual threads.

At the moment, scientists cannot understand why this phenomenon occurs. But physicist David Berghmans says he will try to figure it all out even if Solar Orbiter stops sending data, and even if it takes years.

Studying the solar wind

With all this, the main task of the Solar Orbiter probe remains the study of the heliosphere. This is the area in which the solar wind blows – this is the name of the stream of ionized particles emitted by the Sun at a speed of 300 to 1200 kilometers per second.

This flow strongly affects all the weather in space and even people. For example, when reaching the Earth, the solar wind can cause strong winds and other natural phenomena.

Also, streams of ionized particles affect the Earth’s magnetic field, which causes magnetic storms. About what it is and why they have a bad effect on people’s well-being, read this material.

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Magnetic storms are caused by solar activity

The closer the Solar Orbiter gets to the Sun, the better it can determine how the solar wind is blowing. At the moment, our star is especially active, so scientists will receive a huge amount of information that can reveal many of the secrets of the cosmos.

The most interesting thing is that this is only the beginning of the mission – most likely, a huge number of amazing discoveries await us in the coming years.


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