Astronomers have a record close image of the Sun in the Solar Orbiter mission of the European space Agency and found a phenomenon of unknown origin. About it reported in a press release on Phys.org.
The probe, which the European scientists have developed together with NASA, was about 77 million kilometers during the first revolution around the sun, which is comparable to half the distance between the Sun and Earth. The researchers were able for the first time to obtain images of dozens of small outbreaks, called the “sunshine fires”, which is several million times smaller than ordinary flashes, which can be observed from the Earth, and comparable to the size of Europe.
At the moment it is not clear whether the formed “fires” on the same mechanism that large outbreaks, or they have a different nature. However, the researchers believe that their study helps to explain why the solar corona has a higher temperature than the interior of stars.
The device is able to withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius, allowing it is at a distance of 40 million kilometers from the surface of the Sun. Devices protected by heat-resistant sheath, which is exposed to the solar wind is 13 times stronger than Earth’s orbit. Operators of the probe plan to slightly change the trajectory of Solar Orbiter to the first time in history got the images of the poles of the Sun. This will be done by 2027.
Mission Solar Orbiter is expected to last nine years, and its total cost will be around 1.5 billion euros.