On March 26, 2022, the Solar Orbiter satellite came closer to the Sun than ever before. A particularly exciting moment. The images of this closest approach -the perihelion-, taken by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) on board are will revolutionize solar physics!
The invention of the microscope more than 400 years ago, gave scientists the opportunity to study nature in extraordinary detail. Cells, bacteria and small organisms were discovered. Microbiology was born. Similarly, EUI is revolutionizing our knowledge of the Sun. Like with a microscope, we can zoom in on the Sun with the EUI telescopes and study details in the solar atmosphere, the corona, that we have never been able to see despite decades of solar observations. The EUI telescopes are paving the way for a new branch of research: the study of the micro-corona. It feels like our eyes were finally opened.
There is so much new to see in the EUI-f images collected during this first close passage near the Sun that solar scientists at the Royal Observatory of Belgium are spending hours staring at the screen in fascination, just as microbiologists did 400 years ago. Let yourself be equally amazed by the ever-moving solar material in the videos below!
Many more passages close to the Sun will follow later in the mission. Solar Orbiter's orbit is becoming increasingly tilted, which will allow us to image the solar poles for the first time. Our researchers will not know where to look first!