Sent into space since February 10, 2020, the probe Solar Orbiter getting ever closer to the sun. Solar Orbiter is taking advantage of its long journey to take some shots of the sun, with some nice surprises already in store. Thus, the ESA has just published one of the pictures taken by Solar Orbiter on February 15th. We can see a giant solar eruption (the exact scientific term is “solar prominence”), the length of which seems to be a priori equivalent to the diameter of the sun itself! Fortunately, this solar prominence was not directed towards our Earth. ESA recalls on this subject that these coronal mass ejections “can wreak havoc on our technology and our daily lives.”
The solar prominence captured by Solar Probe is the largest ever observed and recorded by man with the entire solar disk in the image. This impressive image was captured by the Full Sun Imager (FSI), one of the key components of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI), which can observe the sun and its corona at the same time, without the brightness of our star does not come to “burn” the details. The Solar Orbiter probe is currently at a distance of 178 million km from the sun (i.e. 1.168635 astronomical units) and will start its regular observations in 2023, when it will be more than a few million km from the star.