The solar flare occurred on February 15 and stretched millions of miles into space. The image was taken by the Full Sun Imager of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager aboard the Solar Orbiter rover. Full Sun Imager is designed to capture the full solar disk even during passes close to the sun.
For now, there is still a lot of ‘view margin’ around the disk, allowing amazing detail to be captured by FSI to about 3.5 million kilometres, which is five times the radius of the Sun, ESA said.
“On the closest approach on March 26, which will see the spacecraft pass within 0.3 times the distance between the Sun and Earth, the Sun will fill a much larger portion of the telescope’s field of view.”
The European Space Agency described solar prominences as “large structures of interlocking magnetic field lines that maintain dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the surface of the Sun, sometimes in the form of arcuate rings.”
Solar prominence is often associated with coronal mass ejections, which are a very powerful explosion of solar light, material, and energy from the Sun. If these projectiles were aimed at Earth, they could disrupt satellite-based technology. Emissions also cause the northern lights to occur.
However, in this case, the coronal mass ejection was moving away from us.
The European Space Agency said the images will allow space experts to understand for the first time how such events relate to the solar disk.
The sun is getting more active. A new 11-year cycle began in 2019, and the solar maximum in that period – when activity peaks – is expected to occur midway through 2025.
Next week, the Solar Orbiter and NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will conduct joint observations as Parker makes a close pass by the Sun.
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