The European Space Agency (ESA) recently teamed up with NASA to produce a fancy new solar probe. The probe has successfully delivered the closest snapshots ever taken of the sun, revealing thousands of “campfires” or solar flares on its surface.
Scientists have nicknamed the solar flares “campfires” as they provide an insight into the extreme heat present on the sun’s surface and atmosphere. Space is so cool.
Thousands of newly discovered “campfires” on the sun’s surface could provide clues about the sun’s extreme heat.
The space shuttle departed from Florida back in February. The probe was equipped with an Extreme Ultraviolet Imager and managed to take the pictures in late May. The probe orbited 77 million metres from the sun’s surface.
Daniel Muller, ESA’s Solar Orbiter Project Scientist, said: “We didn’t really expect such great results right from the start. These are only the first images and we can already see interesting new phenomena.”
VIDEO: These are the closest images ever taken of the sun.
Captured by the Euro-American probe Solar Orbiter, the images show tiny solar flares that scientists call “campfires” pic.twitter.com/vHIjNsouEe
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 16, 2020
“We can also see how our 10 scientific instruments complement each other, providing a holistic picture of the Sun and the surrounding environment.”
The solar flares, or campfires, are believed to be nano-flares. These are mini explosions and they are probably the reason why the sun’s outer layer is 300 times hotter than the physical surface.
Muller also said, “We’ve never been closer to the sun with a camera, and this is just the beginning of the long epic journey of Solar Orbiter.”
Scientists are still waiting on images and other data from the orbiting probe. Who knows what they’ll discover next?