/Sun’s fluffy corona in exquisite detail – amazing movement
Sun's fluffy corona in exquisite detail

Sun’s fluffy corona in exquisite detail – amazing movement

Sun’s fluffy corona in exquisite detail – watch how it changes

This otherworldly, ever-changing landscape what the Sun looks like up close. ESA’s Solar Orbiter filmed the transition from the Sun’s lower atmosphere to the much hotter outer corona.

The hair-like structures made of charged gas (plasma).  This follows magnetic field lines emerging from the Sun’s interior.

The brightest regions around one million degrees Celsius.  The cooler material looks dark while it absorbs radiation.

This video recorded on 27 September 2023 by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) instrument on Solar Orbiter.

At the time, the spacecraft located at roughly a third of the Earth’s distance from the Sun, heading for a closest approach of 43 million km on 7 October.

On the same day the video recorded, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe skimmed just 7.26 million km from the solar surface. Rather than directly imaging the Sun, Parker measures particles and the magnetic field in the Sun’s corona and in the solar wind.

This a perfect opportunity for the two missions to team up.  ESA-led Solar Orbiter’s remote-sensing instruments observing the source region of the solar wind that would subsequently flow past Parker Solar Probe.

Spot the moss, spicules, eruption and rain

Lower left corner: An intriguing feature visible throughout the movie: the bright gas.  It makes delicate, lace-like patterns across the Sun.

Called coronal ‘moss’. It usually appears around the base of large coronal loops too hot or too tenuous to see with the chosen instrument settings.

On the solar horizon: Spires of gas, known as spicules, reach up from the Sun’s chromosphere. These can reach up to a height of 10 000 km.

Centre around 0:22: A small eruption in the centre of the field of view, with cooler material being lifted upwards before mostly falling back down.

Don’t be fooled by the use of ‘small’ here: this eruption bigger than Earth!


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