Scientists have unveiled the closest images we have of the sun.
The image was taken earlier this month by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter satellite, which was launched back in February 2020.
The images are from a distance of around 75 million kilometres from the Sun – halfway between Earth and the star.
The probe is on a three-year mission to get to the sun. This is something that is too difficult and dangerous for human astronauts.
Once it gets there, it’s hoped the Solar Orbiter will give us the first-ever views of the top and bottom of the Sun, as well as help us to understand the connections between the Sun and Earth.
Don’t ever look directly at the sun – you could seriously damage your eyes.
Nasa says the Solar Orbiter has been designed to experience sunlight 13 times more intense than that which we feel on Earth.
To keep cool, it has a shield to help protect it from the full intensity of the Sun, and it’s also got radiators that pass heat from the probe back out into space.
1. The sun is a star.
This makes it extremely important for life on Earth. The sun provides us with energy, which brings life on our planet. It defines the seasons, the harvests, and even the sleep patterns of all living creatures on Earth.
2. The sun is the closest star to our planet, which is why we see the sun so big and bright.
3. The Earth orbits around the sun.
4. The sun is way bigger than the Earth.
The sun is that big – you could fit over a MILLION Earths inside the Sun!
5. It’s hot!!
The sun’s average surface temperature is more than 5,500 degrees Celcius! Compare that to the Earth’s average temperature, which is 20 degrees. The hottest it’s ever been in El Paso was 45.5 degrees in June 1994!
6. The sun is 93 million miles away from the Earth.
7. How old is the sun?
Can you imagine 4.5 billion years?
8. Like the Earth, the sun has layers. But unlike the Earth, the sun is entirely gaseous; there is no solid surface.
9. The sun rotates on its axis about once every 26 days.
10. The Sun changes
No matter when or where we look at the sun, we will always see something interesting. Scientists observe these changes by watching the sunspots, which increase and decrease about every 10 years.