HRIEUV - High Resolution Imager in the EUV - The squares are examples of little campfires, the circle (left under) denotes the size of the Earth.
Click on the picture to download the movie.
CREDIT: ESA/Solar Orbiter/EUI Team: CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL.
Campfires on the Sun
We see here a small part of the solar atmosphere. The movie shows an unexpected multitude of small loops, bright spots and dark, moving fibrils. The tiny brightening dots and loops sparked immediate excitement as they show up remarkably sharp and contrasted, ubiquitously all over the so-called "quiet Sun" where nothing seemed to happen. But now, looking at this high resolution, we see very tiny light flashes almost everywhere. These light flashes were baptized ‘campfires’ by the EUI scientists. They might contribute to the high temperatures of the solar corona and the origin of the solar wind. This is really exciting stuff. It will become even better when Solar Orbiter will go closer to the Sun.
This high resolution movie was taken on 30 May 2020 by the "High Resolution Imager in the EUV" (HRIEUV), which is one of 3 telescopes of the EUI instrument. HRIEUV captures light with a wavelength of 17 nanometers, this is in the extreme ultraviolet. Looking at this wavelength, we see the upper part of the solar atmosphere at a temperature of around 1 million degrees! The colour on this image has been artificially added because the original wavelength detected by the instrument is invisible to the human eye.
When these images were taken (May 30), Solar Orbiter was roughly halfway between Earth and the Sun, meaning that it was closer to the Sun than any other solar telescope has ever been before. This allows EUI to see features in the solar corona of only 400 km across. As the mission continues, Solar Orbiter will go even closer to the Sun. At closest approach, the instrument’s resolution will increase by a factor of two or more. The best is yet to come!