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Coronal Mass Ejection was Captured in Solar Orbiter

The European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar Orbiter caught sight of this coronal mass ejection. This view from the mission’s SoloHI instrument is short for Heliospheric Imager which watches the solar wind, dust, and cosmic rays that fill the space between the sun and the planets.

Solar Orbiter remote sensing doesn’t enter the full science mode until November. Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager used one of its four detectors at less than 15% of its normal cadence to reduce the amount of data acquired. Still, a keen eye can spot the sudden blast of particles, the coronal mass ejection, escaping the sun, which is off-camera to the upper right. The coronal mass ejection starts about halfway through the video as a bright burst the dense leading edge of the coronal mass ejection and drifts off-screen to the left.

The Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager capturing the coronal mass ejectior was an accident. During this time the eruption reached the spacecraft, had just passed behind the sun from Earth’s perspective and was coming back around the other side. When the mission was being planned, the team wasn’t expecting to be able to record any data during that time.

NASA spacecraft have been watching coronal mass for decades, but Solar Orbiter is still a game-changer. Colaninno said that they have realized in the last 25 years that there’s a lot that happens to a coronal mass ejector between the surface of the sun and Earth. Researchers are hoping to get much better resolution images of all of these outflows by being closer to the sun.The orbiter has already taken the closest picture of the sun to date, and it will only get closer. Solar Orbiter official mission begins in November when SoloHI and the rest of the remote-sensing instruments will be switched on in full science mode.

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