Universe Today Podcast

Episode 627: We've Never Seen the Sun's Poles. That's About to Change With Solar Orbiter

February 13th, 2020  •  9 mins 23 secs  •  Download (8.59 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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On February 9, 2020, the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Florida on top of an Atlas V 411 spacecraft. The spacecraft’s mission is to fly inside the orbit of Mercury, on a tilted orbit that takes it above and below the Sun, capturing images of the Sun’s poles for the first time.

This is just a year and a half after the launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which will fly even closer. Together, the two spacecraft will measure the Sun from every angle up close, providing detailed images and insights of our closest star, to help understand how it creates and controls the giant bubble of plasma that surrounds the entire Solar System.