The spacecraft Solar Orbiter was launched by the US Atlas V 411 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 10 February 2020. It is currently closer to the Sun than any other solar telescope has ever been before.
The first images from ESA’s Solar Orbiter are already exceeding expectations and revealing interesting new phenomena on the Sun.
The close-up views by Extreme Ultraviolet Imager show the upper atmosphere of the Sun, or corona, with a temperature of around 1 million degrees. These images reveal a multitude of small flaring loops, erupting bright spots and dark, moving fibrils. A ubiquitous feature of the solar surface, uncovered for the first time by these images, have been called ‘campfires’. They are omnipresent miniature eruptions that could be contributing to the high temperatures of the solar corona and the origin of the solar wind.
Image credits: ESA
Read more about Solar Orbiter Cruise at
Solar Orbiter’s first images reveal ‘campfires’ on the Sun
..and on Sanitas’ involvement in the Solar Orbiter project at
Staring at the Sun