European probe captures the highest resolution image of the Sun's corona ever taken

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,442   +170
Staff member
In brief: The European Space Agency has shared what it claims is the highest resolution image ever taken of the Sun's full disc and outer atmosphere, the corona. The Solar Orbiter had to snap 25 individual images to fit the entire star into a single frame. The process took more than four hours as each image needed about 10 minutes of exposure, plus extra time for the craft to adjust between shots.

A series of images were captured on March 7. The crown jewel of the set was photographed using the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) at a distance of roughly 46.6 million miles from the Sun, or about halfway between the Earth and the Sun.

The corona has a temperature of around one million degrees Celsius.

The full-size image can be downloaded from the ESA's website. It weighs in at more than 56MB and at a resolution of 9,148 x 9,112, contains more than 83 million pixels. The ESA even included a scale image of the Earth in the top-right corner for comparison.

The Solar Orbiter launched on February 10, 2020, as a joint operation between the ESA and NASA. The US space agency also operates its own probe, known as the Parker Solar Probe. Late last year, it became the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun's atmosphere. Future missions will see the Parker Solar Probe fly even closer to the Sun - within 3.83 million miles of its surface.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 9,279   +8,443
Well, that's one my old Deardorff just can't beat and I'm not going to try to get any closer to try .... LOL
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,439   +1,342
Nah iPhone 13 Pro max could do a better job.

Seriously, as a former astrophysicist this is stunning. I wish I had this data 20 years ago.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,298   +950
Shows how many elements need to come together .
rocket, deploy , imaging in different wavelengths particularly UV , hold steady or each 10 minute shot , communication , computer combing those shots into one .
Heat shielding , shielding from high energy light , particles , electromagnetic interference
telemetry , planning, material science
I probably missed 100s of other things needed to make this happen - not just fire a rocket . release satellite in orbit with camera sending data back
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,783   +5,962
Shows how many elements need to come together .
rocket, deploy , imaging in different wavelengths particularly UV , hold steady or each 10 minute shot , communication , computer combing those shots into one .
Heat shielding , shielding from high energy light , particles , electromagnetic interference
telemetry , planning, material science
I probably missed 100s of other things needed to make this happen - not just fire a rocket . release satellite in orbit with camera sending data back
I don't understand why they needed 10 minute exposures to take pictures of the sun. I do astrophotography and need extra solar filters to to reduce the light coming in.
 

wujj123456

Posts: 79   +49
First time in probably a decade I decided it's time to try a new desktop background. This is awesome and the high-res is pretty future proof too. :)
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,298   +950
I don't understand why they needed 10 minute exposures to take pictures of the sun. I do astrophotography and need extra solar filters to to reduce the light coming in.
Yeah I checked the link mentioned here - suppose a more technical article somewhere - I was wondering what kind of Neutral Filter was needed . I have never tried to start a fire with a lens using the sun - definitely possible considering glass bottles can do it to cause fires in the grass along side motorways .
I just vaguely know some interesting facts like the big difference between internal temperature and surface temp . Plus how long it takes a newly produced photon to get out .
The article linked mentioned checking various light spectrums for layout of the elements that a std sun like ours can produce . Imagine most of the heavy elements in the Universe are mostly done with the massive stars short lives ( well short compared to smaller stars ).

Maybe a 10 minute photo to cycle different wavelengths and maybe to build up a better say oxygen , helium map etc .
From my photography as a casual - I think people shooting on B&W negative on UV film had to focus slightly differently - ie what's in focus for UV is not for std white/colour light - suppose you know more than myself on that
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,783   +5,962
You photograph in visible light, this was in UV.
Let me be more specific, what makes UV light different from regular light that requires 10 minute exposures when taking pictures of the sun. UV light is so strong on earth that image sensors on cameras have UV filters on them and we have an atmosphere blocking a significant chunk of it before it gets to the camera. If UV light can cause literal burns on our skin here on earth, what type of camera are they using on a probe next to the sun that needs 10 minute exposures?
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,120   +8,233
what type of camera are they using on a probe next to the sun that needs 10 minute exposures?
Not sure about that, but here on earth, it takes at least a #10 welding filter. (the filter density for medium amperage electric arc welding), to be able to watch a solar eclipse. I'm guessing whatever filter they have on the camera, is for all intents and purposes is, "black as night".

Wiki has a chart on the specific wavelengths of the UV spectrum:

 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,982
Bah... the Sun is overrated... I believe since the dawn of time, man has yearned to destroy the Sun...

(30 seconds in I think)
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,783   +5,962
Not sure about that, but here on earth, it takes at least a #10 welding filter. (the filter density for medium amperage electric arc welding), to be able to watch a solar eclipse. I'm guessing whatever filter they have on the camera, is for all intents and purposes is, "black as night".

Wiki has a chart on the specific wavelengths of the UV spectrum:

UV filters are actually clear, it's just that they are often accompanied by dark filter because things that make UV light, like welding arcs, also make dangerous levels of visible light.

The sun filter on my 130mm telescope is black even to the brightest light but 1/125 shutter speed at iso 100 is all I've ever needed to get clear images of the sun. I even have a second sun filter on my eye piece for visual observing and that gets uncomfortably hot very quickly. I tried to do the projection method onto a white peice of paper but I melted the eye peice. That was without the large filter on the front of the scope

All of this makes me really curious about the camera on the probe because all of my experience tells me that 10 minute exposures are absurd. What's even more annoying is that there isn't any real information on it. Trust me, I spent a few hours looking.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,120   +8,233
UV filters are actually clear, it's just that they are often accompanied by dark filter because things that make UV light, like welding arcs, also make dangerous levels of visible light.
That's very true. But, the idea behind camera UV filters is to remove all of the UV (**) and leave all the visible light . Then you have to wonder what part of the UV spectrum is represented in the photo. After, is does extend all the way from 400 nm to 10 nm.

Besides, I though at least part of the strategy behind UV filters, was to scare you into buying them to prevent the objective lens on your camera from being damaged. No?

(**) As you pointed out, the atmosphere catches most of it anyway.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,783   +5,962
That's very true. But, the idea behind camera UV filters is to remove all of the UV and leave all the visible light . Then you have to wonder what part of the UV spectrum is represented in the photo. After, is does extend all the way 400 nm to 10 nm.

Besides, I though at least part of the strategy behind UV filters, was to scare you into buying them to prevent the objective lens on your camera from being damaged. No?
Don't have UV filters on my camera. When I said I had a 130mm telescope, I was talking about the physical size of the mirror. I hate messing with filters on my telescope as it is, don't think I'd every buy them for my lenses. I have an adapter on plate on the lens mount on my camera that plugs directly into the eye piece.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,120   +8,233
Don't have UV filters on my camera. When I said I had a 130mm telescope, I was talking about the physical size of the mirror. I hate messing with filters on my telescope as it is, don't think I'd every buy them for my lenses.
Well, I take it you've never used IR B & W or slide film with film cameras, or even with digital. Which BTW, need to have their IR blocking ("hot") filters removed to be used for IR capture. Along with needing filters there for different pictorial effects, along with channel swapping in Photoshop.

The typical "skylight 1A" isn't needed with a DSLR in shade, since all you have to do is dial back the blue channel a bit in post. (After selecting out the shady areas of the image).
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,783   +5,962
Well, I take it you've never used IR B & W or slide film with film cameras, or even with digital. Which BTW, need to have their IR blocking ("hot") filters removed to be used for IR capture. Along with needing filters there for different pictorial effects, along with channel swapping in Photoshop.

The typical "skylight 1A" isn't needed with a DSLR in shade, since all you have to do is dial back the blue channel a bit in post. (After selecting out the shady areas of the image).
I had a traditional photography class in college, that was about it. We worked only with Black and White and, to be honest, I don't really remember much about the class. I was too busy chasing after girls and doing keg stands to have learned much in college. Fun class, though. I can still remember the smell of the dark room all these years later.

But for my Sony A7, and keep in mind I don't take photography THAT seriously. I'm perfectly happy keeping it in aperture priority mode for everything I shoot. I have a 50mm F1.8 that basically never leaves my camera and a 24-70mm F4. The 24-70 is actually great for shooting video but that's about it. It was recommended to me when I wanted to start a YouTube channel and that just never happened.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,120   +8,233
I'm perfectly happy keeping it in aperture priority mode for everything I shoot.
That's the only mode I ever use. And trust me, all my cameras have those silly pictures of which mode you should use to do whatever. I just ignore them.

Aperture priority mode is the only way to go for low light action. If you use shutter priority, the camera will just lock up and not fire when the light drops. With A/P you'll at least get the shot, whether or not it's useful is another story.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,439   +1,342
Let me be more specific, what makes UV light different from regular light that requires 10 minute exposures when taking pictures of the sun. UV light is so strong on earth that image sensors on cameras have UV filters on them and we have an atmosphere blocking a significant chunk of it before it gets to the camera. If UV light can cause literal burns on our skin here on earth, what type of camera are they using on a probe next to the sun that needs 10 minute exposures?

The sun's spectral output declines rapidly at wavelengths shorter than about 200nm. If you were just interested in near UV the exposures could be shorter, but if you expect to capture details down below 100nm they will need to be longer and down around 10-30nm they will have to be a lot longer.

The earth would be uninhabitable if the sun had high UV irradiance. We may sunburn easily, but compared to the irradiance in the UV and IR, luckily UV readily absorbed by ozone layer and atmospheric water vapor.
 

Ben Myers

Posts: 213   +84
I don't understand why they needed 10 minute exposures to take pictures of the sun. I do astrophotography and need extra solar filters to to reduce the light coming in.
Possibly because the light was highly filtered to show what is shown in the photo? Without any filtering at all, the sun is a ball of light.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,120   +8,233
Possibly because the light was highly filtered to show what is shown in the photo? Without any filtering at all, the sun is a ball of light.
Possibly because as @Mr Majestyk explained at post #22, they were photographing in the "extreme UV range".
I left a link to the Wiki UV wavelength chart at post #13.

The fact that the camera was "heavily filtered", is sort of a given.