May 27, 2020

European Solar Orbiter Will Give First Look At The Sun’s Poles

Scientists are on the final touches hoping to take the first-ever look at the real poles of the sun. This could be an essential step to solving the most long-standing solar difficulties and mysteries. The ESA (European Space Agency) $1.5 billion Solar Orbiter mission, which is also supported by NASA, has scheduled to launch atop ULA (United Launch Alliance) Atlas V vessel on 7th Feb at night from Florida in Cape Canaveral Air Force Base.

Soon after the launch, the 1,800 kilograms (3,970-Ib) rocket will make use of various flybys on Venus, together with one of Earth, to reach to the unusual orbit that surrounds the sun. The orbit is one of those out of the ecliptic, the space plane in which big planets like earth circle. The distinguished vantage space will allow filling knowledge gaps to provide prodigious scientific comebacks whenever the Solar Orbiter’s mission is done once in every seven years.

Solar Orbiter is scheduled to be launched just after 18 months since NASA completed another sun-studying mission named PSP (Parker Solar Probe). PSP has traveled much closer to the sun with the difference of 24 million kilometers (15 million miles) than any other rocket up to date. The spacecraft has additionally traveled faster too. The NASA rocket is believed to continue sculpting on its orbit, greatly shaving made its nearest solar approaches. The team further explains that by the end of the seven years duration, PSP shall get within 6.16 million kilometers (3.83 million miles) of the solar surrounding and make up a top speed of about 700,000 km/h (430,000 mph) relative to the sun.

However, solar Orbiter will not get as close as PSP to the sun. The Orbiter’s exceedingly eccentric path moves it up to 42 million kilometers (26 million miles) of the sun on the closest approach. Nevertheless, the more distant viewing point offers vital research advantages. For instance, the varied vantage locations of the solar orbiter and that of the PSP will enable scientists to compare the observation of magnetic fields and solar plasma at different locations in the space. This will, in turn, provide valuable context. Above all, solar orbiter shall be able to directly observe the sun and take images, which PSP is unable to do. In general, solar orbiter and PSP will work together in assisting researchers in understanding the way the sun ticks better.

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