The space probe that had just passed Venus was hit by a powerful solar flare

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Vue d'artiste d'un survol de Vénus par Solar Orbiter. © ESA

Solar Orbiter performed a new flyby of Venus overnight Saturday into Sunday at 3:26 a.m. Paris time. Shortly before the flyby, the European Space Agency probe was hit hard by a remnant of a solar flare. Solar Orbiter is on its way to study the Sun very closely. To get into an orbit that passes over the poles of our star, the Solar Orbiter uses Venus as a gravitational aid… and takes the opportunity to do a little “extra science.” You will also be interested.
[EN VIDÉO] Solar Orbiter offers different views of a coronal mass ejection Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are violent phenomena. And on February 12 and 13, 2021, three instruments on the Solar Orbiter mission—a mission of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA)—immortalized one of them for the first time, with both closer views and wider The Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) first makes it possible to discover the inner part of the solar corona. Blocking light from the Sun’s surface, the Metis coronagraph provides a view of the outer corona. Finally, the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI) shows the solar wind by capturing light scattered by its electrons. © Solar Orbiter/ Team EUI/ Team Metis/ Team SoloHI/ ESA and Nasa Solar Orbiter took off from Earth in 2020. It doesn’t take long to travel from Earth’s orbit to an orbit closer to the Sun. As a reminder, our star is only 150 million kilometers from us (eight light minutes). On the other hand, it is much more complicated to enter a polar heliocentric orbit. One of the main missions of the Solar Orbiter is to learn more about its fabulous magnetic field. The ideal for this is to make measurements also above the magnetic poles, which are roughly confused with the geographic poles of the Earth. The concern is accessing it, given that all the stars in our solar system are roughly in the same plane (the ecliptic plane), it’s easy for a probe to evolve in that same plane. But, to enter polar orbit around the Sun, it is necessary to gradually increase the inclination of the orbit. To avoid consuming too much fuel, the ESA decided to do this gradually using the gravitational assistance of Venus. Saturday’s flyover is only the third of eight! Update: Prior to this third flyby of Venus, Solar Orbiter encountered a formidable plasma ejecta as a result of a large solar flare on August 30. Fortunately, the probe is equipped with all the protections to survive it and ESA has announced that it is doing well. In addition, their scientific instruments were used to make measurements. A bit of science as a bonus The time to make the journey to polar heliocentric orbit is long, but it is not lost. Solar Orbiter has already made some of the closest flybys of the Sun in the history of space exploration. A next perihelion flyby is also scheduled for October 13 and should again break a new record by passing within 43 million km of the surface. Last Saturday, Solar Orbiter passed within 6,400 km of Venus and used it to study the magnetic field of our neighboring planet, in particular the region where this field interacts with the solar wind. In fact, unlike our magnetic field which is produced by the convective movements of metals in the heart of our planet, Venus’s is generated by the interaction between the solar wind and the planet’s thick atmosphere. what did you just read
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