A cosmic alignment and a little bit of spacecraft gymnastics has provided a ground-breaking measurement that is helping solve the 65-year-old cosmic mystery of why the Sun’s atmosphere is so hot.
The instrument Jovis, Amorum ac Natorum Undique Scrutator (JANUS) passed the commissioning phase with full marks. It is a real test during which – 8 million km from the Earth – it opened its electronic “eyes”, sending the so-called “first light”, i.e. his first series of images, to the technicians and researchers
Solar Orbiter has made the first ever remote sensing observation of a magnetic phenomenon called a solar ‘switchback’, proving their origin in the solar surface and pointing to a mechanism that might help accelerate the solar wind.
The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft is speeding towards its historic first close pass of the Sun. On 14 March, the spacecraft will pass the orbit of Mercury, the scorched inner planet of our Solar System, and on 26 March it will reach closest approach to the Sun.