An impressive capture of images and videos rescued from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter mission, showing shots of the Sun from its south pole and also captures a solar hedgehog.
These images were taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager on March 27, 2022, and show the Sun at a wavelength of 17 nanometers. This is the wavelength emitted by gas at a temperature of about a million degrees, which corresponds to the temperature of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona. This movie highlights that the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) takes images of the entire disk using the Full Sun Imager (FSI) telescope and detailed images of a smaller region using the High Resolution Imager (HRIEUV) telescope.
The next video shows the solar flares from the south pole of the star king. Many scientific secrets are believed to lie hidden at the solar poles. Magnetic fields that create large but temporary active regions on the Sun are pulled up to the poles before being swallowed back toward the Sun, where they are thought to form the magnetic seeds for future solar activity. The brightest areas of the image are created primarily by loops of magnetism rising upward from the solar interior.
“The images are really impressive,” says David Berghmans of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) instrument, which takes high-resolution images of the lower layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, known as the solar corona. This region is where most of the solar activity that drives space weather takes place.
The intriguing feature in the lower third of the image, below center, has been nicknamed the solar hedgehog. No one currently knows exactly what it is or how it formed in the Sun’s atmosphere. The image was captured on March 30, 2022 by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) at a wavelength of 17 nanometers.
These are revealing the Sun like never before, and have shown a multitude of intriguing features such as the hedgehog, which although classified as a small-scale feature still measures some 25,000 km in diameter, making it about twice the diameter of the earth. The gases shown in this image have a temperature of about a million degrees.