Solar Orbiter Science Press Briefing

  • Released Friday, February 7, 2020
  • Updated Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 12:22PM
  • ID: 13535

During its closest approaches of the Sun, Solar Orbiter will travel fast enough to study how magnetically active regions evolve for up to four weeks at a time. Solar Orbiter will return the first images and measurements of the Sun’s polar magnetic field, helping scientists relate the poles to the solar activity cycle.

Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will present Solar Orbiter, the ESA/NASA mission to the Sun, during a science press briefing on Friday, Feb. 7. 2020, at 2.30 p.m. EST.

Solar Orbiter will observe the Sun with high spatial resolution telescopes and capture observations in the environment directly surrounding the spacecraft to create a one-of-a-kind picture of how the Sun can affect the space environment throughout our solar system. The spacecraft also will provide the first-ever images of the Sun’s poles and the never-before-observed magnetic environment there, which helps drive the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and its periodic outpouring of solar storms.

The teleconference audio will stream live at:

Participants include:

European Space Agency
• Daniel Müller, Solar Orbiter Project Scientist
• Günther Hasinger, Director of Science

• Nicky Fox, Heliophysics Division Director, NASA HQ
• Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA HQ

Solar Orbiter orbiting the Sun. Over its seven-year mission, the spacecraft will go as close as 26 million miles from the Sun.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab/

Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

This animation of Solar Orbiter and its instruments begins by showing small sliding doors in the heat shield open to allow the internally mounted, remote-sensing instruments to observe the Sun. Special windows block out heat to protect the instruments during operations. The doors are closed when the remote-sensing instruments are not observing. The in situ instruments are in science mode throughout the spacecraft’s orbit.

Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab

Animation of the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that constantly blows from the Sun. Solar activity shapes space throughout the solar system, and has profound effects on our home planet.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Animation of a spacecraft experience damage from space weather. Sometimes, solar eruptions can disrupt satellites and everyday technology such as GPS and radio. At worst, space weather can also impact astronauts.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab/Krystofer Kim

A solar eruption bursts from the Sun, as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO

This visualization presents a model of the Sun’s magnetic field based on solar observations. Currently, scientists lack measurements of the magnetic field at the Sun’s north and south poles. Solar Orbiter will fly in an inclined orbit in order to study the poles.

Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Tom Bridgman

Animation showing the deployment of the boom and antennas. Solar Orbiter carries a comprehensive suite of 10 instruments that take both in situ and remote measurements.

Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab

Animation of a coronal mass ejection impacting Mars, Earth, and Jupiter. Solar Orbiter is equipped to image such eruptions as they burst from the Sun, and measure the eruption directly as it passes the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab/Bailee DesRocher

No description available.

Image of NASA’s heliophysics observatory fleet.

Credit: NASA

No description available.

Image of the European Space Agency’s solar system explorers.

Credit: ESA

Animation of the Artemis program’s lunar lander concept.

Credit: NASA


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


This visualization is related to the following missions:

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