On Wednesday morning, the agency shared an incredible timelapse image of our own sun, laying bare its atmospheric activity we rarely get to appreciate in such captivating detail.
The images are all thanks to the PROBA-2 satellite, the second of the agency’s planned low-cost satellite program. Weighing in at just 130kg (286lbs), the small but mighty craft is the ESA’s resident sunbather and is punching well above its weight in terms of the data sent back to Earth.
While our planet’s poles are reasonably well-charted, despite the unforgiving climate, the solar poles are a different beast entirely. Prior to PROBA-2, the only craft to fly over a solar pole was Ulysses in the mid-1990s – a craft which, unfortunately, did not possess any imaging instrumentation.
However, after many months and dozens of iterations piecing together data transmitted back to Earth by the plucky solar pioneer, PROBA-2 managed to also provide us a sneak peek at the Solar north pole, just in time for Christmas.
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