First Look At Sun’s North Pole With ESA Satellite

Posted: Dec 7 2018, 5:05am CST | by , Updated: Dec 7 2018, 5:09am CST, in Latest Science News


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First Look at Sun’s North Pole with ESA Satellite
Credit: ESA/Royal Observatory of Belgium

Using Proba-2 observations, researchers have pieced together picture of the Sun's polar regions.

Our Sun is far more complex and dynamic than meets the eye. Many missions have been studying the sun for decades, but they focus mainly on its equatorial regions which has left sun's poles relatively unexplored. Thanks to the European Space Agency’s Proba-2 observations, researchers have reconstructed a view of the sun’s north pole for the first time. While the poles cannot be seen directly, the data from the spacecraft can be used to infer the appearance of the polar regions.

“In order to estimate the properties of the solar atmosphere over the poles, they continuously image the main disc of the Sun and take small slivers of data from the outer and upper regions of the star as it rotates, compensating for the fact that the Sun does not rotate at constant speeds at all latitudes. Over time, these small arrays of data can be combined to approximate a view of the pole.” ESA statement reads.

Launched in November 2009, Proba-2 is a minisatellite that carries advanced science instruments, focused on the Sun and the extreme environment surrounding it. Proba-2 satellite orbits Earth about 14.5 times per day and studies solar atmosphere with constant change in viewing angle. The resulting information is crucial to understanding sun’s behavior that influences every world in our solar system.

The view of sun’s north pole presented above is a composite of images taken by satellite's SWAP camera, which works at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the Sun's hot atmosphere. The latest composite image displays ultraviolet observations in a visually attractive format.

“The line across the middle is created due to small changes in the solar atmosphere that occurred over the timeframe of creating this image. This image also shows a bright bulge on the upper-right side of the Sun; this is created by a low-latitude coronal hole rotating around the solar disc. The polar coronal hole region, which can be seen as the dark patch in the centre of the solar disc, is a source of fast solar wind. It is seen here to contain a subtle network of light and dark structures, which may cause variations in solar wind speed.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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