Solar Orbiter captures stunning footage of the Sun from close range

The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter made history last year by getting closer to the Sun than ever before, capturing a mesmerizing close-up video of the Sun’s surface. This incredible footage was recorded in September by the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) from a distance only a third of the way between Earth and the Sun.

The video shows “coronal rain” and small plasma eruptions that give off an otherworldly hellscape vibes, reminiscent of a dark fantasy underworld. The Solar Orbiter’s proximity to the Sun allowed it to capture a unique and up-close view of these phenomena, showcasing the intense and complex nature of our star.

In the video, viewers can witness an eruption around the 22-second mark, which, despite appearing small, is actually larger than Earth itself, according to the ESA. The strands of plasma seen falling to the Sun’s surface in the video are about 10,000 degrees Celsius, with the background reaching temperatures of around a million degrees Celsius.

This unparalleled footage, made possible by spacecraft like the Solar Orbiter and NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, provides scientists with crucial data and insights into the Sun’s behavior and composition. While the Parker Solar Probe holds the record for the closest approach to the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the Solar Orbiter’s superior video capabilities make it a valuable asset for researchers studying the Sun.

These close-up videos not only showcase the incredible beauty and complexity of our star but also contribute to expanding our knowledge and understanding of the Sun’s dynamics. With spacecraft like the Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe pushing the boundaries of exploration, scientists are continuing to unravel the mysteries of the Sun, shedding light on the celestial body at the center of our solar system.