Last February, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA sent their Solar Orbiter probe to enjoy our beautiful sun from every angle. An opportunity for the probe to observe and photograph its first solar flare.
The Sun, like most of the celestial stars, is very wonderful for observing and studying. It is for this reason that last February, NASA and the European Space Agency sent a new probe, Not Solar Orbiter, To allow us to know more about the star that allows us to live on Earth.
Against all odds, it did its job directly by observing and photographing the solar flare as the probe was about 77 million kilometers from the star.
Yes, scientists at NASA and the European Space Agency had never expected to see such a phenomenon soon. In fact, when the probe noticed this eruption, it was behind the Sun with respect to Earth. Scientists had no plans to get any data whatsoever at that time. Because the sun’s atmosphere usually blocks communications when the sensors are behind the sun. But in the meantime, the satellite antennas on Earth have been improved, allowing the team of scientists to retrieve data from the Solar Orbiter sooner than expected.
As a reminder, a solar flare is also called a “coronal mass ejection.” They are actually types of magnetized clouds that dot the interplanetary medium. Basically, billions of tons of plasma and electrically charged particles escape from the star. When large, these eruptions can have impacts on our planet. For example, in 1989, a solar flare deprived Quebec of electricity for about 9 hours. But more simply, solar flares are often the basis of the wonderful auroras. Got it: It’s a great subject of study and moreover our reason to live at Solar Orbiter. So, seeing such a phenomenon shortly after it was put into orbit is a real boon from the sky.
The sun is increasingly active
The solar orbit is not the only probe observing our star. In fact, other ships were able to observe these eruptions: the satellite PROBA-2 in Earth orbit (ESA), the space probe SoHO (heliosphere and heliosphere) in orbit around the sun (NASA and the European Space Agency), as well as STEREO- A (“Earth-Sun Relationships Observatory”) also orbits the Sun (NASA).
But why are so many tools to observe the sun? There is a fairly simple reason. In fact, the sun is entering a new solar cycle that will last for 11 years. This means that solar flares will intensify over the next few years, reaching their peak in 2025. The orbiting solar module will be there to witness and in the meantime it will approach the star like any other probe before to allow us to better observe and analyze the poles of the sun. And the worst thing is that all of its measuring tools won’t run at full speed until next November. For now, the probe is still making its mark as NASA and the European Space Agency prepare to capture the most beautiful solar flares with much higher resolution.
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