Massive solar storms on the Sun are becoming more common as it moves into a period of increasing solar activity as part of Solar Cycle 25, which is expected to peak in 2025. There’s one spacecraft that will be very well placed to capture that increasing activity. Solar Orbiter is currently 25% of the way through its ten-year mission of observing the Sun. By 2025 it will be closer than ever to our parent star, and it has already started observing some fantastic phenomena from our Sun.Continue reading “Solar Orbiter was hit by a Coronal Mass Ejection as it was About to Make a Flyby of Venus”
On March 26th, the ESA’s Solar Orbiter made its closest approach to the Sun so far. It ventured inside Mercury’s orbit and was about one-third the distance from Earth to the Sun. It was hot but worth it.
The Solar Orbiter’s primary mission is to understand the connection between the Sun and its heliosphere, and new images from the close approach are helping build that understanding.Continue reading “Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping”
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The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter snaps an amazing image, en route to its first close pass near the Sun.
You’ve never seen the Sun like this. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter captured an amazing view of our host star.
The images were snapped on March 7th, as Solar Orbiter passed directly between the Earth and the Sun. There was an explicit reason for this, as the science team wanted to calibrate and compare the images with Earth-based and missions in Earth orbit, to include the Inouye solar observatory, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), located at the Lagrange (L1) Sun-Earth point.Continue reading “ESA’s Solar Orbiter Takes a Ludicrously High Resolution Image of the Sun”
Earlier this week the Sun erupted with a huge explosion, blasting solar particles millions of kilometers into space. The team for the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft says the blast is the largest solar prominence eruption ever observed in a single image together with the full solar disc.
Luckily for us here on Earth, the eruption on February 15, 2022 occurred on the farside of the Sun, the side facing away from our planet. But ESA and NASA predict geomagnetic storms are possible in the next few days as the active region on the Sun responsible for the blast turns toward us.Continue reading “A Colossal Flare Erupted From the Far Side of the Sun”
Since early this year, skywatchers on Earth have been tracking Comet Leonard, a kilometer-wide dirty snowball made of ice, rock and dust. Now, as it heads towards a close encounter with the Sun on January 3, 2022, several spacecraft – with the distinct advantage of having an unobstructed front-row seat to the action – have been keeping an eye on how the comet is changing and evolving as it heats up.Continue reading “This Video of Comet Leonard (with Venus and Mercury) will Blow Your Mind”
Two spacecraft made historic flybys of Venus last week, and both sent back sci-fi-type views of the mysterious, cloud-shrouded planet.
The Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo spacecraft both used Venus for gravity assists within 33 hours of each other, capturing unique imagery and data during their encounters.Continue reading “The First Images and Videos from the Double Venus Flyby”
When Longfellow wrote about “ships passing in the night” back in 1863, he probably wasn’t thinking about satellites passing near Venus. He probably also wouldn’t have considered 575,000 km separation as “passing”, but on the scale of interplanetary exploration, it might as well be. And passing is exactly what two satellites will be doing near Venus in the next few days – performing two flybys of the planet within 33 hours of each other.Continue reading “Two Spacecraft are Flying Past Venus, Just 33 Hours Apart”
A deep-space mission is about to pull a ‘vanishing act,’ through mid-February, as the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter (affectionately known as ‘SolO’ to mission controllers) makes a crucial pass behind the Sun.Continue reading “ESA’s Solar Orbiter ‘Hides’ Behind the Sun”
The Solar Orbiter spacecraft is heading towards the center of the Solar System, with the goal of capturing the closest images ever taken of our Sun. But during its flight, the spacecraft turned back to look towards home. It captured Venus, Earth, and Mars together, as seen from about 155.7 million miles (250.6 million kilometers) away.Continue reading “Solar Orbiter Caught Venus, Earth and Mars in One of its Photos”
While actually walking on the sun is still just a dream of Smash Mouth fans, humanity has gotten a little bit closer to our nearest solar neighbor with the recent launch of the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter (SolO).
SolO has just produced its first round of photographs of the sun in action and they are already revealing some features that have been unseen until now. Those features might even hold the key to understanding one of the holy grails of heliophysics.Continue reading “They’re In! The First Images From ESA’s Solar Orbiter”