NASA-ESA solar orbiter clicks the most detailed pictures of the Sun. Take a look!

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Mar 25, 2022, 09:17 PM(IST)

To capture the entirety of the Sun with the high-resolution telescope at EUI, a mosaic of 25 individual pictures would need to be taken at that close distance. Since each tile takes about 10 minutes, including the time required for the spacecraft to move from one segment to the next, the full image was acquired over a period of more than four hours. (Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter) Photograph:( Others )

Story highlights

Among the images, taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), is the highest resolution image ever taken of the Sun's full disc and outer atmosphere, the corona

The European Space Agency's (ESA) and NASA's Solar Orbiter have captured images of the Sun in unprecedented detail.

Spacecraft took the images on March 7, as it passed directly between the Earth and Sun at a distance of 75 million kilometres, on the halfway point between the Earth and its parent star, according to an ESA statement.

Also read | New solar physics? Mysterious vortex waves discovered on the Sun travelling faster than expected

Among the images, taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), is the highest resolution image ever taken of the Sun's full disc and outer atmosphere, the corona.

The Spectral Imaging of Coronal Environment (SPICE) instrument captured the first image of a full Sun -- the first of its kind in more than 50 years. Lyman-beta wavelength ultraviolet radiation emitted by hydrogen gas was used to capture the image.

Also read | NASA confirms a 'celestial milestone', 5000 exoplanets confirmed so far

To capture the entirety of the Sun with the high-resolution telescope at EUI, a mosaic of 25 individual pictures would need to be taken at that close distance. Since each tile takes about 10 minutes, including the time required for the spacecraft to move from one segment to the next, the full image was acquired over a period of more than four hours.

EUI imaged the Sun at a wavelength of 17 nanometers, in the extreme ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The ESA said this reveals the Sun's upper atmosphere, the corona, which reaches a temperature of around a million degrees Celsius.

Watch | A new frontier in space exploration

In the SPICE images, purple represents hydrogen gas at 10,000 degrees Celsius, blue represents carbon at 32,000 degrees Celsius, green represents oxygen at 320,000 degrees Celsius, and yellow represents neon at 630,000 degrees Celsius.

Sun

Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter

Using this, solar physicists will be able to track the eruptions that take place in the corona down into the lower atmospheric layers. Researchers will also be able to study one of the most puzzling observations about the Sun: how the temperature rises through ascending atmospheric layers.

Another milestone will be achieved by Solar Orbiter on March 26: its first close approach to perihelion. The spacecraft is now inside Mercury's orbit, where it is taking images of the Sun with the highest resolution possible. Furthermore, it is monitoring solar wind particles that flow outwards from the Sun.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App