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Solar Orbiter’s First Images Reveal the Sun Covered With Tiny “Campfires”

16 Jul 2020, 15:24 UTC
Solar Orbiter’s First Images Reveal the Sun Covered With Tiny “Campfires”
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A high-resolution image from the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) on ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft, taken with the HRIEUV telescope on 30 May 2020. The circle in the lower left corner indicates the size of Earth for scale. The arrow points to one of the ubiquitous features of the solar surface, called ‘campfires’ and revealed for the first time by these images. Credit: Solar Orbiter/EUI Team/ESA & NASA; CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL
The pictures are in! The first image data from the cameras aboard ESA’s Solar Orbiter were revealed today, July 16 2020, and reveal many features on our Sun we’ve never been able to see before—including small-scale flare activity dubbed “campfires.” (I say small-scale but they’re actually the size of entire countries!)
“The Sun might look quiet at the first glance, but when we look in detail, we can see those miniature flares everywhere we look.”
— David Berghmans, Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB)

The images were acquired on May 30, 2020, when Solar Orbiter was about halfway between Earth and the Sun. This allowed it to capture data as basically twice the resolution that NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory can, resolving features as small as 400 km (248 ...

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