Launched more than two years ago, the European probe Solar Orbiter is getting ever closer to our star and has reached the perihelion of the sun today (the perihelion is “the point in the trajectory of a celestial object in heliocentric orbit which is closest to the Sun”source Wiki), only 48.3 million km from the surface of the star!
At the end of its long journey, the probe will follow an elliptical orbit that will bring it close to the sun, 42 million kilometers away from the bubbling and burning surface. It should also be noted that this is the first time that a spacecraft equipped with a camera system has found itself so close to the sun (Solar Probe being devoid of photo sensors). This proximity already allows Solar Orbiter to take fantastic shots of the sun, like those captured on March 7, when the probe was 75 million kilometers from the star.
The image of the Earth has been added to the photo to give an idea of the respective differences in size between the sun and our little blue planet
These incredible images were made thanks to the EUI (Extreme Ultraviolet Imager), an instrument intended to provide sequences of images of the solar atmospheric layers above the photosphere, “had to take twenty-five individual shots to image the entire solar disk” specifies theESA (European Space Agency). Each photo required 10 minutes of “break”. These shots are of course fantastic, and that’s just the beginning…