Never-before-seen images of the Sun’s surface captured by a European Space Agency probe

Never-before-seen images of the Sun’s surface captured by a European Space Agency probe
Never-before-seen images of the Sun’s surface captured by a European Space Agency probe

In a video published this Thursday, we observe eruptions, which can rise to a height of around 10,000km, and plasma showers on the surface of the star of our solar system.

Unpublished images. The European Space Agency published this Thursday, April 2, images from the Solar Orbiter probe, which studies our Sun more closely. A video reveals a close-up of a small part of the Sun’s surface, showing the transition between its lower atmosphere and its molten outer corona.

In the images, the brightest regions have a temperature of around 1,000,000°C, while the colder materials, and therefore the darkest because they absorb radiation, drop below 10,000°C.

Many movements

In these images recorded on September 27, 2023, we can see delicate shapes like grass or hair, called “coronal foam”, which are formed from plasma.

On the horizon, spiers of gas, called spicules, rise from the Sun’s chromosphere. Although they appear small in the image, they can rise to a height of around 10,000 km. In the center of the video, a small rash is visible.

The images also reveal the “coronal rain” which, at less than 10,000 °C, appears dark compared to the bright background of the large coronal loops (which are at around 1,000,000 °C). Rain is made up of high-density plasma clusters that fall toward the Sun under the effect of gravity.

The probe will explore the poles of the Sun

Scientists say observations of the complex dynamics of the Sun’s surface could help understand why the star’s atmosphere is much hotter than its surface, a long-standing paradox in solar physics.

Indeed, as the European Space Agency notes, one might expect the corona to be cooler, because the sun’s energy comes from its core, and things naturally get colder as they get colder. away from a heat Source. One explanation is that miniature eruptions, called “campfires”, pump energy into the atmosphere and thus cause the corona to heat up.

“These campfires that Orbiter first observed are constantly burning. It’s a matter of determining how much energy they produce and whether it’s enough to heat the atmosphere in the way we’re seeing,” explains to the Guardian Dr David Long, physicist at the University of Dublin.

The Solar Orbiter probe mission was launched in 2020 and will begin next year to observe the Sun’s north and south poles, which are so far unexplored.

Most read

-

-

PREV Will the “Recall” app turn your PC into a time machine or a super-spy?
NEXT Jérôme Monceaux, founder and president of Enchanted Tools – 05/23