NASA and Solar Esa Orbiters may not fully operate, but it hasn’t stopped the sun probe from catching one of the first magnetic plasma bursts from the Korona of our closest star. This is one of the first data information of the spacecraft after a long year of travel from the earth to the sun, where scientists expect it to help answer the questions that take place about the impact of the activity of the sun on our planet.
As an astronomy event, the coronal mass (CME) ejection is quite dramatic. Active points on the sun’s surface are on, with plasma sprays from Corona Surya coming out into space. It comes with a magnetic field, of course, and the resulting geomagnetic storm can actually affect the magnetosphere of the earth itself.
This is the cause of aurora borealis, aka northern lights, among other visual changes, but the impact can be more significant elsewhere. Radio transmissions can be disrupted by magnetic concentrations that are exacerbated, while the level of a strong flux can even damage electricity infrastructure that causes blackouts, or satellites in the orbit around the earth.
But potentially more impact, is the influence of CMES can have in unprotected humans. While the Earth’s atmosphere acts as a buffer to stop serious physical changes, astronauts in space or on the planet without the same atmospheric protection can be at risk of what is called a change in “space”.
Finding out exactly what happens between the Sun and the earth is one of the tasks in front of the solar orbiter. Launched at the beginning of 2020, this is intended to help identify several causes and impacts of the CMES and how they spread through the solar system. The spacecraft will also send back close-ups of the sun, including from high solar latitude, sharing photos of the polar area for the first time.
However, before all that, however, all systems need to be examined in advance the solar orbiter that turned completely in November 2021. It was during such an examination, in fact, that not one but two unexpected CME was recorded in a fairly close place. On February 12, 2021, Imager Heliospheric Solar Orbiter (Solohi), extreme ultraviolet imager, and Metis Coronagraph all recorded data about two eruptions for one day.
Information was slow to return to earth, thoughts, because where the spaceship when CMES occurred. From the perspective of the earth, solar orbiters actually have just emerged from behind the sun. The instrument was turned on just in time for the first CME, even though the bandwidth was very low so it needed some time to cache full data to be transferred home.
While the extreme ultraviolet iMager Esa and Metis have captured CME data before, this is the first time for Solohi. Indeed, it is not possible not to update the ground on the antenna that returns on earth. With repairing connectivity as a result, the system switches a little earlier than it was originally planned.
Even so, this is the only Morsel than solar orbiters with full efficacy. Solohi is, for example, tracks less than 15 percent of normal rhythms, because NASA tries to restore the number of bandwidth needed.