The most detailed video ever obtained so far of the solar corona in a quiet phase was taken by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA during its highly anticipated second close encounter with the Sun in mid-October.
The probe reached the minimum distance (equal to 29% of that which separates the Earth from the Sun) on 12 October at 21:12 Italian time. The video is from October 13, when the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (Eui) instrument returned the highest resolution portrait ever obtained of the solar corona in a state of rest: each pixel corresponds to 105 kilometers of solar surface. Such images will be increasingly rare in the coming months, as solar activity is set to increase to peak in 2025.
This video, like others made during the close encounter, show the dynamic nature of the corona, which is the outermost part of the solar atmosphere. The electrically charged gas (plasma) is in constant motion, driven and accelerated by changes in the Sun’s magnetic field. The plasma light arcs visible in the film are held in place by rings of magnetism that erupt into the corona from within the Sun.
“I can’t wait for the data from all ten instruments to be downloaded in the coming weeks, then the scientific community around the world will be very busy discovering new things using this unique dataset,” comments Daniel Muller, Chief Scientific Officer of Solar Orbiter. for Esa.
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