Solar Orbiter's Illustration of a Strange Phenomenon on the Sun

By Aazam

 With the latest data so far from its closest pass to the Sun, the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft found fascinating clues as to the origin of the solar magnetic switchback.

 The discovery points to how their physical formation mechanism may help accelerate the solar wind.

Solar Orbiter has made remote sensing observations for the first time consistent with a magnetic phenomenon called solar switchback - sudden and large deflections of the solar wind's magnetic field.

As predicted this new observation provides a more complete view of the structure, confirming that it has an S-shaped character.

The global perspective provided by Solar Orbiter data indicates that these rapidly changing magnetic fields may have originated near the surface of the Sun.

 On March 25, 2022, Solar Orbiter was a day closer to the Sun, orbiting the planet Mercury, and its Metis instrument was taking data.

Metis blocks bright flashes of light from the Sun's surface and takes pictures of the Sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona.