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Solar Orbiter


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An ESA solar observatory, planned for launch in 2017 or later, that will orbit the Sun at distances as close as 0.2 AU (45 solar radii), imaging its surface and corona at visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths, as well as detecting charged particles and magnetic fields in the solar wind. Its elliptical orbit will bring it close to the Sun every five months, at which time it will be moving at about the same rate as the Sun spins and will temporarily hover over one region like a geostationary satellite to watch the development of solar active regions. Repeated flybys of Venus during the mission will increase the craft's orbital inclination to 35° or more, allowing the probe to examine the Sun's polar regions.

http://sci.esa.int/solarorbiter Official mission website.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.


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