27 April 2021Computer simulations show that the miniature solar flares nicknamed ‘campfires’, discovered last year by ESA’s Solar Orbiter, are likely driven by a process that may contribute significantly to the heating of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona. If confirmed by further observations this adds a key piece to the puzzle of what heats the solar...
10 December 2020Solar Orbiter’s latest results show that the mission is making the first direct connections between events at the solar surface and what’s happening in interplanetary space around the spacecraft. It is also giving us new insights into solar ‘campfires’, space weather and disintegrating comets.
30 September 2020ESA has released its first Solar Orbiter data to the scientific community and the wider public. The instruments contributing to this data release are the Energetic Particle Detector (EPD), the Radio and Plasma Waves (RPW) instrument, and the Magnetometer (MAG). Data from the fourth in-situ instrument, the Solar Wind Plasma Analyser (SWA) will be...
16 July 2020The first images from Solar Orbiter, a new Sun-observing mission by ESA and NASA, have revealed omnipresent miniature solar flares, dubbed ‘campfires’, near the surface of our closest star. “These are only the first images and we can already see interesting new phenomena,” says Daniel Müller, ESA’s Solar Orbiter Project Scientist. “We didn’t...
30 June 2020ESA’s Solar Orbiter has successfully completed four months of painstaking technical verification, known as commissioning. Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the spacecraft is now ready to begin performing science as it continues its cruise towards the Sun.
15 June 2020ESA’s Sun-exploring mission Solar Orbiter has made its first close approach to the star on June 15, getting as close as 77 million kilometres to its surface, about half the distance between the Sun and Earth.
29 May 2020ESA’s Solar Orbiter will cross through the tails of Comet ATLAS during the next few days. Although the recently launched spacecraft was not due to be taking science data at this time, mission experts have worked to ensure that the four most relevant instruments will be switched on during the unique encounter.
25 March 2020In response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, ESA has decided to further reduce on-site personnel at its mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The new adjustments require temporarily stopping instrument operation and data gathering on four Solar System science missions, including Solar Orbiter.
19 February 2020First measurements by a Solar Orbiter science instrument reached the ground on Thursday 13 February providing a confirmation to the international science teams that the magnetometer on board is in good health following a successful deployment of the spacecraft’s instrument boom.