Solar Orbiter speeds towards its next rendezvous with the Sun
The Solar Orbiter mission makes a new close approach to the Sun this evening ( 12 October at 19:12 UTC). This time the satellite will be as close as 0.29 AU or 43 million km to the Sun, even closer than at the previous perihelion in March 2022 (0.32 AU). All instruments onboard are ready to collect yet more ground-braking data during this unique observation period.
Throughout the course of its mission, Solar Orbiter will have 2 close approaches each year and due to the increasingly inclined orbit that the satellite will follow, these will also allow us to observe the solar poles close-by for the very first time. Something exiting to look forward to!
Click on the image on the left to see a movie showing the progress of the spacecraft as it heads towards our star, with the Sun seemingly growing in size as the spacecraft approaches.
The sequence begins on 20 September and finishes on 10 October and was taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) using the Full Sun Imager (FSI) telescope.
Towards the end of the sequence, the image appears to jump slightly. This happens on the days that EUI was not returning data to Earth.