First Close-Up Photo of the Sun's Surface in History | See More Details

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 This new image of the Sun , taken from just 77 million km from its surface, is the closest that has ever been obtained by camera.


The photo is from the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter (SolO), which launched earlier this year.


Among the new insights gained by the SolO spacecraft is the sight of mini flares dubbed "bonfires".


This flare is a millionth of the size of the Sun's giant flares routinely observed by Earth's telescopes.


Whether this miniature version is caused by the same mechanism remains unclear. But these tiny flares could be involved in a mysterious heating process that makes the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, much hotter than its surface .


Have you ever seen a photo of the Sun's surface? Or have you ever tried to take photos of the sun using your HP or digital camera?


Here, Jaka collects a number of photos of the Sun's surface that are very rare and difficult to take. Like a photo during a solar eclipse phenomenon .


This photo is not from Jaka himself who took it, but from Paul Andrew, a retired photography lecturer from Dover, Kent, England.


I was so impressed by these photos that they became viral in various foreign media and social media as well. Come on, see what kind of photos?


1. Using the Lunt 152 telescope, Paul Andrew, a 66-year-old retired photography lecturer from Dover, Kent, England, succeeded in obtaining a portrait of the Sun's surface. Then he made a series of detailed photos of the Sun's surface.

3. In this photo an image of the Earth is added to show the contrast and comparison of the size of the Sun with the Blue planet.

"The sun has a relatively cool surface of about 5,500 degrees and is surrounded by a superheated atmosphere of over a million degrees," explains project scientist Esa Daniel Müller, quoted by the BBC .

"There's a theory put forward by the great US physicist Eugene Parker, who surmises that if you have a large number of tiny flares, this might explain the overall heating mechanism that could make the corona hot," he added.

"Whatever their role, bonfires must have been small, which explains why they have been overlooked to date," said David Berghmans, of the Royal Observatory of Belgium and principal investigator on the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI).

"The smallest is [size] a few pixels. One pixel is equivalent to 400 km, that's spatial resolution. So it's roughly the size of some European countries," he told reporters. "Maybe there's a smaller one."


The European Space Agency (Esa) satellite was sent on a rocket from Cape Canaveral in the US in February. Its mission is to uncover the secrets of our star's dynamic behavior.

Solar emissions have a huge impact on Earth that goes far beyond just providing light and warmth.

Oftentimes, they interfere with such a magnetic field-charged particle explosion that will damage the electronics of the satellite and degrade radio communications.

SolO could help scientists better predict these disorders.

"The recent situation with the coronavirus has proven how important it is to stay connected, and satellites are part of that connectivity," said Caroline Harper, head of space science at the UK Space Agency.

"So it's really important for us to learn more about the Sun so that we can predict its weather, its space weather, in the same way we study (with the weather) on Earth."

The Solar Orbiter has been set on a series of rotations around the Sun that will gradually bring it closer together.

At its peak it will be at a distance of less than 43 million km. That would put SolO inside the orbit of the planet Mercury.

The images on display on Thursday are from the latest near pass , known as perihelion. This happened in mid-June, inside the orbit of Venus.

For comparison, Earth is on average about 149 million km from the Sun.

Although the new image was taken from a close angle, it was not the highest resolution ever obtained. The image captured by Earth's largest solar telescope is still much better.

However, the probe's holistic approach, using a combination of six remote sensing instruments and four in-situ instruments, puts it on a different level.

Esa's senior adviser for science & exploration, Mark McCaughrean, told BBC News , "The Solar Orbiter is not going any closer to the Sun just to get higher resolution images."

"The probe will more closely enter a different part of the solar wind and be less turbulent, studying particles and in-situ magnetic fields at closer distances," McCaughrean added.

"While simultaneously taking remote data on the surface of the Sun and its surroundings for context. No other mission or telescope can do that."

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