The Solar Orbiter just launched from Cape Canaveral, and it began the journey, which will provide a closer look at our Sun.
This mission is a joint collaboration between NASA and the ESA, and it’s been launched on Sunday at 11:03 p.m.
This is the very first mission that will offer images of the star’s north and south poles via six instruments that are on board that will be able to capture the spacecraft’s view.
An enhanced understanding of the Sun’s poles
A better visual understanding of the Sun’s poles is vital because it can offer more insight into the star’s powerful magnetic field and the ways in which it affects our planet.
CNN revealed that the Solar Orbiter would take about two years to reach the highly elliptical orbit around the Sun.
“Gravity assists from Earth and Venus will help swing the spacecraft out of the ecliptic plane, or the space that aligns with the sun’s equator, so it can study the sun’s poles from above and below,” CNN writes.
“Up until Solar Orbiter, all solar imaging instruments have been within the ecliptic plane or very close to it,” according to Russell Howard, space scientist at the Naval Research Lab in Washington.
He is also the main investigator for one of Solar Orbiter’s ten instruments. “Now, we’ll be able to look down on the sun from above,” he continued.
You can check out the launch in the video below.
3-2-1 LIFTOFF! 🚀 We have liftoff of #SolarOrbiter at 11:03pm ET atop @ULAlaunch’s #AtlasV rocket as the spacecraft begins its journey to snap the first pictures of the Sun’s north and south poles. Watch: https://t.co/W3wMEfPxvB pic.twitter.com/0F6Jk6vhML
— NASA (@NASA) February 10, 2020
This move triggered massive excitement in the science community.
A Twitter user said: “Thank you to NASA. In a world that has seemingly gone mad, you offer slivers of hope.”
Someone else said, “Just watched from the west coast of Florida. Recorded it with my phone. Pretty dope!”
We reported news about a solar breakthrough not too long ago. The largest solar telescope in the world revealed the first detailed image of the Sun.