The Solar Orbiter mission will launch its near-solar flight on Saturday from its launch in February 2020. People are waiting to see some of the most exciting adventures humans can see.
We already have the sun through the Parker Solar Probe, but now we will be flying by the sun and studying about its compositions and unravel the secrets it is holding.
The spacecraft will reach 31 million miles (50 million miles) from the sun, less than a third of the distance between the star and the Earth. This will take the Solar Orbiter inside the orbit of Mercury, the planet closest to the sun.
The European Space Agency, which co-operates the campaign with NASA, will share initial images and data within a few weeks as it will take time to download and analyze all data collected during the flyby, according to ESA.
How Will This Mission Be Carried Out?
The 10 Solar Orbiter devices will operate simultaneously, ready to measure the sun’s rays and monitor mini-flares, called campfires, which researchers will inspect in the first images of the machines by 2020. The spacecraft also carries high-resolution telescopes. Data collected during the flyby may help scientists unravel some of the great mysteries left by the sun, including why and how the temperature rises in the solar system.
Some Other Objectives Of The Solar Orbiter
The Solar Orbiter will also take high-resolution solar images and record solar wind, a powerful flow of particles flowing away from the sun. “From now on, we go into the unknown about the observations of the Solar Orbiter Sun,” Daniel Müller, a scientist for the Solar Orbiter project, said in a statement.
The latest photos shared by Solar Orbiter offer a new view of the sun that captures unprecedented detail, including a photo with the highest clarity ever taken of the solar system. The photos were taken on March 7 when the spacecraft crossed the Earth and the sun.
The spacecraft was located between two celestial bodies, some 46 million miles (74 million km) from the sun.
How Is This Mission Important?
One shot, taken using the Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment instrument, called SPICE, is the first complete picture of the sun in 50 years, reflected in ultraviolet light.
Different light waves can help researchers study the temperature difference between the position of the sun and the corona of the sun, or outer space.
The corona can reach a million degrees Celsius (1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit), and the surface area is 5,000 degrees Celsius (9,000 degrees Fahrenheit). Solar Orbiter can help determine why temperatures appear to rise from the sun, rather than lower.
This is one of Solar Orbiter’s first solar eclipses, with many more flybys planned to bring it closer to the star in the years to come. Gradually, the spacecraft will raise its profile to explore the hottest places ever seen in the sun.
How Solar Orbiter Withstand Such High Temperatures?
The Solar Orbiter comes equipped with a multilayer heatshield, a special coat called “Solar Black” made from burnt bone, sliding doors that protect its tools, a solar array that can withstand extreme heat and cooling features inside the ship- space. Together, these keep the spacecraft from melting as you study the sun.
The massive solar flare erupted from the sun on March 2. The eruption was rated as M-class, the fourth strongest of the five solar flare forces. The explosion of energy could cause small temporary radio bursts from Earth’s poles and small radiation storms that could endanger the spacecraft at the International Space Station, according to NASA.
What is Solar Cycle?
Meanwhile, the Parker Solar Probe, which became the first “touch of the sun” spacecraft by the end of 2021, recently experienced a massive solar eclipse when the sun released tons of charged particles along Parker’s path on February 15.
If the flames and storms such as the magnificent fires on February 15 (and taken over by Solar Orbiter) or the solar storm that hit the satellites of SpaceX’s Starlink in February, seem to happen more often, it is because the sun increases activity as it heads at maximum solar.
Why Is It Important To Know About Solar Cycle?
It is important to understand the solar cycle because the atmospheric weather caused by the explosions in the sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejection events, can affect the power grid, satellites, GPS, planes, rockets and spacecraft.
Every 11 years, the sun completes the solar cycle and begins a new one. The current solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, officially began in December 2019 and the next solar eclipse, when the sun is in full swing, is predicted to occur in July 2025.
What Happens Inside The Sun During A Solar Eclipse?
During the solar eclipse, the sun shifts from one turbulent period to another. This activity is followed by counting the sun’s spots and how many are visible over time. Sunspots, or dark spots in the sun, are the source of explosive fires and excavation events that release light, solar material and energy into the atmosphere.
This puts the Solar Orbiter and the Parker Solar Probe in the right place to look at as we look at the size of the sun.
Read more about Parker Solar Probe