Even though we don’t have any real images of the Sun’s north pole, it doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t make out what it looks like.
Using data from the Proba 2 probe – On-Board Autonomy Project 2- scientists managed to assemble images from the polar regions of the Sun and create an artificial view of the star’s north pole.
Recently, scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) released an image of what they believe our sun would look like if we were to observe it from above. And while it’s not a real image, the group of experts has solid data to back up their claims.
As explained by the European Space Agency, previous missions that were sent to study the Sun, such as the ESA’s Proba-2 satellite and NASA’s SDO craft, have mainly focused on the star’s equator.
The only mission that was launched to explore the Sun’s poles was Ulysses, a joint mission between the European Space Agency and NASA. Regrettably, that spacecraft didn’t include any imaging equipment.
So for us to ‘see’ what the Sun’s North Pole looks like, scientists had to use all data they could gather, and a bit of imagination.
Astronomers first gathered data taken by an instrument onboard the Proba-2, known as the Sun Watcher using.
After that, they painstakingly pieced that data together in a way that would allow them to “see” the Sun’s from ‘above.’
And to see whether experts were right and if the Sun’s North Pole really looks like that, we won’t have to wait that long.
According to reports, in 2020, the European Space Agency will launch its Solar Orbiter mission.
But unlike previous missions, this spacecraft will we be equipped with state-of-the-art imaging equipment that will allow it to take high-altitude images of the Sun, therefore providing scientists with a direct view of the Sun’s poles.