The Solar Orbiter has crossed the Earth-Sun line that marks the halfway point between our Earth and the Sun, providing us with an opportunity to gain a unique perspective on space weather and the interactions between our home planet and the nearest star. The spacecraft is set to cross the orbit of Mercury on the 14th of March and make its closest approach to the sun on the 26th.
The Sun emits a continuous stream of rays into the sky. This is referred to as solar radiation. It transports the magnetic flux of the Sun into space, where it may combine with planets to produce aurora borealis and damage electrical equipment. Electromagnetic activity on the Sun, which typically occurs above sunspots, can cause wind gusts, magnifying these consequences. The remotely sensed data devices on the Solar Orbiter may also be able to track down the location of any occurrence on the surface of the sun. One of the primary motivations for the Solar Orbiter project is ‘complementarity research.’
Even if no major event occurs, there is a great deal of research that can be done by reviewing the history of the same package of solar radiation as it moves forth into the Planetary System. Along with its altitude and closeness to Earth, Solar Orbiter has been capable of maintaining virtually constant communication, sending back vast amounts of data. The procedure is also moving swiftly. For instance, geomagnetic data is analyzed and sanitized around 15 minutes after it is received.
The 15 minutes comprise the approximately three seconds it takes for communications to travel across space between both the spaceship and the ground control station. The enormous spacecraft is currently passing squarely between the Earth and the Sun, almost halfway between our planet and its home star. Scientists will be able to research space weather and the Sun-Earth link because of this privileged situation in orbit. The mission will investigate the continual flow of particles known as the solar wind, which impacts the atmosphere in orbit.
The Solar Orbiter is currently 75 million kilometers from the Sun and is getting very close by the minute. It’s the same range as the spaceship traveled during its near encounter with the Sun on June 15, 2020. The spacecraft might be able to locate the source of any incident on the surface of the sun during the near flyby upcoming. Along with information and photographs from Solar Orbiter’s additional equipment, they might tell more about the small flares known as fire pits that the spacecraft showed in its early photographs.
Source: The ESA