The closest images ever taken of the Sun reveal unexpected discovery

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,402   +121
Staff member
Something to look forward to: Best yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Over the planned seven-year mission, the craft’s other instruments are expected to reveal a wealth of additional information about the Sun that scientists will be studying for years to come.

The Solar Orbiter, a Sun-observing satellite jointly funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to further study our closest star, has sent back its first bit of data.

After multiple delays, the Solar Orbiter finally launched in February of 2020 on an Atlas V 411 rocket. Following months of travel, the spacecraft recently completed its first close pass of the Sun and snapped some stunning photos in the process.

Daniel Müller, ESA’s Solar Orbiter project scientist, said they didn’t expect such great results so early. Holly Gilbert, NASA project scientist for the mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said, “These amazing images will help scientists piece together the Sun’s atmospheric layers, which is important for understanding how it drives space weather near the Earth and throughout the solar system.”

The mission was put in jeopardy by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as it forced all but the most essential personnel to work from home. It was “the first time we have ever done that,” said Russell Howard, principal investigator for one of Solar Orbiter's imagers. Nevertheless, the team persevered.

For its first rendezvous, the Solar Orbiter flew within 48 million miles of the Sun and fired up all 10 onboard instruments to collect data. The craft’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) identified the presence of what David Berghmans, an astrophysicist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, called “campfires.”

“The campfires we are talking about here are the little nephews of solar flares, at least a million, perhaps a billion times smaller,” Berghmans said. “When looking at the new high resolution EUI images, they are literally everywhere we look.”

NASA notes that while other spacecraft have flown closer to the Sun, none were equipped with Sun-facing imagers.

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Mister_K

Posts: 1,919   +610
I wish "my" idea of afterlife was a thing. Die and be able to coast throughout the whole universe freely. Kind of like Thanos and "his" stones. Be able to enter any atmosphere, be near a black hole, understand all type of communications etc. Now that is heaven.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,163   +1,924
So much energy taunting us. Impossibly enormous quantities of energy being generated and flung out into space. More in an hour hitting the earth than all humans use in a year. Yet only amounting to a miniscule fraction of the total output.

Master nuclear fusion and we're set for millennia of civilization. Fail to solve energy crisis problems and we'll probably destroy ourselves within a few centuries.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,232   +5,630
After seeing the solar observatory out in Kitt Peak, AZ I was always fascinated by information they collected. Don't know if it's still there but they had a series of steel plates upto 5" thick they focused the beam of light on and each had a very nicely burned through hole. I'll have to head over to the NASA web site and see if they have started posting these on line ...... after I get a nice cold drink!

 
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tomkaten

Posts: 283   +219
I wish "my" idea of afterlife was a thing. Die and be able to coast throughout the whole universe freely. Kind of like Thanos and "his" stones. Be able to enter any atmosphere, be near a black hole, understand all type of communications etc. Now that is heaven.
If that's what's in store for us, it's best to not know about it. Suicide rates among science freaks would really shoot up :)
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,446   +1,716
Drat, and here I thought there would be a report of an alien race living on the sun, and they had a thermostat that allowed them to turn the heat of the sun up and down. ;)
 
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Mister_K

Posts: 1,919   +610
If that's what's in store for us, it's best to not know about it. Suicide rates among science freaks would really shoot up :)
omg wouldn't it just.

To anyone else, that likes to switch off from politics and all the bullshit checkout Isaac Arthur and John Michael Godier (also Event Horizon) channels on YouTube. Some amazing content.
 
I wish "my" idea of afterlife was a thing. Die and be able to coast throughout the whole universe freely. Kind of like Thanos and "his" stones. Be able to enter any atmosphere, be near a black hole, understand all type of communications etc. Now that is heaven.
read or listen to the 3 book series, "We are Bob" With your comment I think you would fall in love with it.
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 405   +329
So much energy taunting us. Impossibly enormous quantities of energy being generated and flung out into space. More in an hour hitting the earth than all humans use in a year. Yet only amounting to a miniscule fraction of the total output.

Master nuclear fusion and we're set for millennia of civilization. Fail to solve energy crisis problems and we'll probably destroy ourselves within a few centuries.
Alas Fusion has been 30 years way since 1970 and it seems like finding the end of the rainbow. Still no chance of fusion within the next 20 years by which time we'll be fully on renewables. We are now getting thin-film solar panels that can be put anywhere and when we have entire roofs, windows, walls covered in solar-film most houses at least will be off-grid capable as one can only assume battery tech will be a lot better in 2040. With hydrogen also coming on for energy use it will transform a lot of dirty industries like the cement industry. Still I would love to see fusion sooner rather than later. Heck even better matter-antimatter annihilation at 100% efficiency compared to a few % for fusion, just need a way to make reliable and large quantities of anti-matter. Rather than store it make it on demand.
 
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Malakai2k

Posts: 36   +11
That dude that makes all those fancy vacuum cleaners needs to work harder and finally complete that sphere he's been working on so that we can actually use all this energy.
 
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Mister_K

Posts: 1,919   +610
read or listen to the 3 book series, "We are Bob" With your comment I think you would fall in love with it.
Probably listen, I am not much of a reader other than Reddit for certain topics. Cheers for the suggestion! :)
 

Markoni35

Posts: 698   +237
According to some physicists, solar activity will drop around 2030, which will cause global cooling. So forget the global warming panic, we should prepare for global cooling in the period 2030-2055.

Gentleman, prepare your blankets!
 
I wish "my" idea of afterlife was a thing. Die and be able to coast throughout the whole universe freely. Kind of like Thanos and "his" stones. Be able to enter any atmosphere, be near a black hole, understand all type of communications etc. Now that is heaven.
This has literally been my dream for the afterlife for as long as I can remember.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424
According to some physicists, solar activity will drop around 2030, which will cause global cooling. So forget the global warming panic, we should prepare for global cooling in the period 2030-2055.

Gentleman, prepare your blankets!
Links? Or are these the 1%ers of physics?
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424
Heck even better matter-antimatter annihilation at 100% efficiency compared to a few % for fusion, just need a way to make reliable and large quantities of anti-matter. Rather than store it make it on demand.
That is probably even farther away than the ever 30-years off fusion at this point. It takes far more energy to make antimatter at this time than it would release from reacting it.

On battery tech, if this is ever perfected and commercialized, say good bye, permanently, to fossil fuels - 10X power density for lithium batteries - https://phys.org/news/2019-01-tiny-silicon-particles-power-lithium.html
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424
After seeing the solar observatory out in Kitt Peak, AZ I was always fascinated by information they collected. Don't know if it's still there but they had a series of steel plates upto 5" thick they focused the beam of light on and each had a very nicely burned through hole. I'll have to head over to the NASA web site and see if they have started posting these on line ...... after I get a nice cold drink!
It's still there! https://visitkittpeak.org/
 

MaxSmarties

Posts: 292   +141
We know so little about space... even our solar system. We are dreaming about colonization but we have been to the moon (basically our courtyard) just a few times decades ago. It is sad...
 

MaxSmarties

Posts: 292   +141
According to some physicists, solar activity will drop around 2030, which will cause global cooling. So forget the global warming panic, we should prepare for global cooling in the period 2030-2055.

Gentleman, prepare your blankets!
I’d like to speak with those scientists making assumptions about the sun while we are still observing it (and we know very little about it).
 
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Mister_K

Posts: 1,919   +610
We know so little about space... even our solar system. We are dreaming about colonization but we have been to the moon (basically our courtyard) just a few times decades ago. It is sad...
Dreams inspire. Money and politics are our limitation.


I’d like to speak with those scientists making assumptions about the sun while we are still observing it (and we know very little about it).
all 5 seconds to find:

These scientists are much more educated & qualified on the subject than people posting on online forums.

Also it is very common for media (this includes Techspot) to post "Scientists SAY THIS.. XYZ" in actuality it is merely a proposition, or a study being conducted with no real tangible facts/math. This damages the scientific community as your everyday folk will then go and call BS on things that actually do matter and generally ignore what science says "because its always wrong anyway". Pinch of Salt what you read online, specially social media sites.
 
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SixTymes

Posts: 36   +17
I wish "my" idea of afterlife was a thing. Die and be able to coast throughout the whole universe freely. Kind of like Thanos and "his" stones. Be able to enter any atmosphere, be near a black hole, understand all type of communications etc. Now that is heaven.
one of the science websites a few years back, I think it was science digest dot com had an article about a group of scientists found proof of a living field away from our atmosphere. it was an interesting read, I wish I could locate the link, but could not find it.
 

MaxSmarties

Posts: 292   +141
Dreams inspire. Money and politics are our limitation.




all 5 seconds to find:

These scientists are much more educated & qualified on the subject than people posting on online forums.

Also it is very common for media (this includes Techspot) to post "Scientists SAY THIS.. XYZ" in actuality it is merely a proposition, or a study being conducted with no real tangible facts/math. This damages the scientific community as your everyday folk will then go and call BS on things that actually do matter and generally ignore what science says "because its always wrong anyway". Pinch of Salt what you read online, specially social media sites.
I usually don’t speak about matters I don’t really know... basically from the interesting article you linked, we are much more dangerous than reduced solar activity.
Not exactly unexpected...
 
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Ludak021

Posts: 222   +147
I’d like to speak with those scientists making assumptions about the sun while we are still observing it (and we know very little about it).
actually, by studying the rods that are taken on Earth's poles, we have a lot of data, some of which indicates rise and fall in temperature of the surface. This is how we know about cycles that Sun goes through. And yes, there are colder cycles and warmer cycles swapping places all the time.
This data goes back almost a billion years.

Also we know a GREAT DEAL about the universe, not "very little" as you say.

edit: for global warming people: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=historical+solar+cycles&t=ffab&iax=images&ia=images