Solar Orbiter - NASA Animations

  • Released Monday, January 27th, 2020
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:45PM

Solar Orbiter is an international cooperative mission between the European Space Agency and NASA that addresses a central question of heliophysics: How does the Sun create and control the constantly changing space environment throughout the solar system? The Sun creates what’s known as the heliosphere — a giant bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields blown outward by the Sun that stretches more than twice the distance to Pluto at its nearest edge, enveloping every planet in our solar system and shaping the space around us. To understand it, Solar Orbiter will travel as close as 26 million miles from the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury. There, it will measure the magnetic fields, waves, energetic particles and plasma escaping the Sun while they are in their pristine state, before being modified and mixed in their long journey from the Sun.



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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab


Missions

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