Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Universe Today (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Solar Orbiter was hit by a Coronal Mass Ejection as it was About to Make a Flyby of Venus

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Massive solar storms on the Sun are becoming more common as it moves into a period of increasing solar activity as part of Solar Cycle 25, which is expected to peak in 2025. There’s one spacecraft that will be very well placed to capture that increasing activity. Solar Orbiter is currently 25% of the way through its ten-year mission of observing the Sun. By 2025 it will be closer than ever to our parent star, and it has already started observing some fantastic phenomena from our Sun.

One of those spectacular phenomena happened recently during a gravity assist Solar Orbiter received from Venus. The Sun had a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Venus and the Orbiter. It was almost like it was jealous that the satellite designed to study it was cozying up to another heavenly body.

Obviously, the Orbiter’s presence isn’t why the Sun decided to discharge toward the second planet. And ultimately, being hit by such an intense solar storm had no damaging impact on the probe, mainly because it was specifically designed to observe phenomena like the CME. 

ESA video describing Solar Orbiter’s mission
Credit – ESA YouTube Channel

Some of Solar Orbiter’s instruments had to be turned off due to the sunlight reflected off of Venus itself. That means they missed being able to gather data on this CME. However, some other instruments were kept on and noticed an increase in the number of energetic solar particles in the probe’s proximity.

There is plenty we still don’t understand about heliophysics and the underlying causes of these solar storms. Solar Orbiter itself is only one of several craft that are actively measuring the Sun. One, in particular, known as Vigil, will help us determine the directionality of solar storms. 

Currently, it is difficult to determine whether the storms are headed directly toward Earth or directly away from it – particles from storms in both directions appear like halos around the Sun. But from Vigil’s planned vantage point of the Earth-Sun L5 Lagrange point, it will have a unique angle to monitor space weather that could potentially affect Earth and all of its infrastructure.

UT video describing the Solar Orbiter mission

While these additional missions are getting up to speed, Solar Orbiter is picking up even more of it, eventually planning to become the fastest-moving object ever built by humans. It will continue to monitor the Sun and use Venus for gravity assists for the duration of its mission. The CME it recently suffered will certainly not be the last one it deals with either.

Learn More:
ESA – Coronal mass ejection hits Solar Orbiter before Venus flyby
UT – Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping
UT – A Colossal Flare Erupted From the Far Side of the Sun
UT – Two Spacecraft are Flying Past Venus, Just 33 Hours Apart

Lead Image:
Artist’s depiction of Solar Orbit around the Sun.
Credit – ESA / ATG medialab

The post Solar Orbiter was hit by a Coronal Mass Ejection as it was About to Make a Flyby of Venus appeared first on Universe Today.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.