The Golden Age of Solar Physics Continues

At 12:03 BST on February 10, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA jointly developed the Solar Orbiter (“Solar Orbiter”) successfully launched, it will be the first to give the sun’s north and south poles a “positive view”, revealing the mystery of the sun’s magnetic field. This is the second messenger sent to the sun in the near future, following the “Parker” solar probe, which will be launched in 2018.

The Golden Age of Solar Physics Continues

“Since 1995, mankind has launched nine solar observation satellites, ” Tian Qi, a professor at Peking University’s School of Earth and Space Science sand and director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Key Laboratory for Solar Activity, told Science and Technology Daily. In addition, there are several solar optical telescopes and radio telescopes on the ground, and at least five solar observation satellites are ready to be launched. With these facilities, solar physics is and will continue to be in the golden age for at least 20 years to come! “

Double sword joint

The energy provided by the sun allows life to flourish on Earth, but the sun’s “character” is complex and varied, and extreme events such as flares, coronal mass ejections and the high-energy charged particles they produce can be harmful to astronauts, satellites and even life on Earth, so it is important to better understand the sun’s “every move.”

“The sun is also a natural physics laboratory, and the study of the sun has greatly promoted the development of plasma physics, particle physics and other disciplines, ” Tian said. What’s more, as the only star that can observe at high spatial resolution, solar observations are unique references to our understanding of the physical processes on other stars. “

According to the ESA website, the Solar Orbiter will study the sun up close for the first time to make high-resolution observations of the solar polar region, allowing people to peer into the “true look” of the sun’s poles and better understand the relationship between the sun and the earth. “At the end of the ‘Solar Orbiter’ mission, we will know more than ever about the mysterious forces behind the changing behavior of the sun and its impact on the Earth,” said Junt Hasinger, ESA’s head of science. “

“The ‘solar orbiter’ will be combined with ‘Parker’, ‘the double sword’, to refresh our understanding of the sun,” said THOMAS Chubichen, NASA’s deputy director. “

Parker “touches” the sun closer than the Solar Orbiter to study how the solar wind is produced, but it does not have a camera to photograph the sun, while the Solar Orbiter is moderate lying at a moderate distance from the sun, allowing remote photographs of the sun and in situ measurements, and observing the sun’s poles for the first time. “The extraordinary adventures of these two probes could help us uncover the mysteries of the sun and its atmosphere,” said Holly Gilbert, a scientist at NASA’s Solar Orbiter. “

ChuBixing further pointed out: “We are entering a new era of solar physics!” The probes will change the face of solar research and help astronauts make missions to the moon more secure. “

All-in-all amazing skills

The Golden Age of Solar Physics Continues

From ancient times to the present, people have been full of curiosity about the sun, “Kwa Father day by day” story spread for thousands of years. The sun has many unsolved mysteries. How did a solar eruption occur? How does the corona’s million-degree Celsius heat remain? How is the black cycle formed? Wait a minute. To this end, human beings sent a lot of “messengers” to the sun.

“From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the United States, Japan and other countries successfully launched several solar observation satellites, ” Tian said. Since 1995, humans have launched a solar observation science satellite in less than three years, and nine have so far been launched. These include the Solar and Solar Sphere Observatory (SOHO), the Solar Transition Zone and coronal detector (TRACE), the Ramati High Energy Solar Spectroscopy Probe (RHESSI), the Hinode satellite, the Solar-Terrestrial Observatory (STEREO), Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), Solar Interface Area Imaging Spectrometer Satellite (IRIS), ‘Parker’ (PSP) and ‘Solar Orbiter’. Each of these scientific satellites is ‘in a stunt’, with the exception of TRACE and RHESSI, all of which are operating normally in orbit, revealing the mysteries of the sun for humanity. “

Tian said that the 1995 launch, the United States and Europe jointly developed the SOHO satellite can give the sun a “full-body physical examination.” It has completely covered two 11-year solar cycles, greatly updating our understanding on such important topics as the inner structure of the sun, the evolution of the sun’s magnetic field, coronal heating, the origin of the solar wind, and the coronal mass ejection, “it can be said that SOHO satellites have a revolutionary impact on the knowledge system of solar physics”.

Launched in 2006 by Japan, the United States, Europe, the three-way cooperation, its solar magnetic field observation, polar ultraviolet spectral measurement and soft X-ray imaging observation at that time reached the world’s best level, greatly enhance people’s understanding of the solar small-scale magnetic activity, coronal dynamics and so on.

The IRIS satellite, launched by the United States in 2013, focuses on the color sphere and transition zone between the sun’s surface and the corona. These two levels are key to the transfer of matter and energy in the sun’s atmosphere. The IRIS satellite has also achieved direct imaging of the solar transition zone for the first time, and its observations have made a series of breakthroughs in such areas as transitional dynamics and low-level atmospheric activity.

Wonderful continue

“The successful launch of the ‘solar orbiter’ does not mean that humans are stopping to detect the sun’s steps, ” says Mr Tanaka. Over the next five years, humans will launch at least five more solar-detecting satellites: China’s Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S), solar-detecting dual-super-platform technology test satellite; India’s Aditya-L1; and NASA’s The Uniform Coronal and Coronal Polarization Satellites ‘ (PUNCH) and ESA’s Proba 3 (Proba-3). “

The five solar detectors are also mission-like, Tian said. ASO-S will observe solar eruptions and the solar magnetic field that drives them, as well as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, to study the relationship syllands and patterns of formation between the two. ASO-S is scheduled to launch around 2022, and the Solar Detection Dual Hyper-Platform Technology Test Satellite will be able to achieve full-day surface imaging at different wavelength scan positions of the H-alpha spectrum, which is scheduled to launch in 2020.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch the country’s first solar-detecting satellite, Aditya-L1, around 2021, focusing on coronal dynamics, with missions such as observing the solar color sphere and the photosphere.


After the successful launch of the Solar Orbiter, ESA plans to build on its efforts to send two satellites to the Proba-3 mission to observe the corona, the Physicist Series reported on Feb. 10. Proba-3 will create an artificial total solar eclipse that will allow astrophysicists to continue to observe the total solar eclipse for six hours in the future instead of just a few minutes now, giving a clear image of the corona and revealing the mysteries of its million-degree Celsius heat and eruption activity. The Proba-3 is scheduled for launch in mid-2022.

Tian yu further introduction: “In addition to the above-mentioned space-based solar detector, there are several optical telescopes and radio telescopes on the ground, including the current performance of the most powerful solar telescope Daniel Wellon Solar Telescope, China’s new vacuum solar telescope (located in Fuxian Lake, Yunnan) and The Mingantu radio imager (located in Mingantu, Inner Mongolia). “

“These solar observation facilities allow the golden age of solar physics to continue. In addition, China’s solar physics community is also vigorously promoting the ground large-calibre solar telescope and solar stereoscopic detection satellite program, if successful, will greatly strengthen China’s solar physics research in the international status. “I’m looking forward to it, ” said Tian.