The Solar Obiter has sent an incredibly detailed timelapse video of its approach to the sun. The timelapse was taken over a 20-day period, from September 20th to October 10th.
The video was made during one of the star’s most active phases, so the video shows a lot of plasma plumes shooting out from the surface.
The Solar Orbiter Mission is managed by the European Space Agency (ESA). The timelapse was shot with the help of the spacecraft’s Extreme Ultraviolet Radiation (EUI) camera with high resolution. EUI managed to shoot the Sun in panoramic mode for all 20 days, which allowed scientists to get an incredibly detailed look at the star.
Scientists enhanced the colours in the timelapse because human eyes cannot see the ultraviolet wavelength detected by the instrument.
Towards the end of the sequence, the image appears to jump slightly. This happens on the days that EUI was not returning data to Earth. The coloured bar at the top of the image shows the impressive amount of data collected in this period, together with these brief gaps in the data coverage.
Depending on where Solar Orbiter is along its orbit, it can take days or weeks for the data it records to be transmitted back to Earth. Data from the current perihelion passage is downlinked within a couple of weeks of it being collected.
“So much of modern society relies on spacecraft in orbit around Earth to provide essential communications and navigation,” says the ESA. “Understanding more about the Sun and the ‘space weather’ it generates will help companies operate their satellites around Earth safely and securely.”