On June 15, 2020, the Solar Orbiter spacecraft approached the Sun at a record 77 million km, which is half the distance from Earth to a star. It flies further, the main mission will begin only in 2022, but the device has already begun to collect and transmit information. And the very first pictures created a stir in the scientific community – the surface of the Sun was littered with flashes of light of an unknown nature.
As noted by researcher Sami Solanski of the Solar Probe group at the Max Planck Institute, they are running out of vocabulary to assign designations to all new objects or phenomena associated with the Sun in one way or another. So far, it has been decided to call the detected outbreaks “campfires”. They flare up often and brightly, but are themselves very tiny at the scale of the Sun. The size of one “fire” is approximately equal to the area of Europe, so it was impossible to see them from the Earth.
The working version is this: “bonfires” are miniature versions of the large solar flares that we see from Earth. Apparently, the nature of the solar corona is such that it is constantly in excitement, generates emissions of energy, which maintain its temperature at a million degrees. This may explain the paradox of why the inner layers of the Sun are much colder than its surface.
The answers may have to be sought in future contributions from Solar Orbiter. The device must complete a series of gravity assist maneuvers and eventually enter an orbit from which it can observe the polar regions of the Sun – for the first time in history! He will also try to find the sources of the solar wind and many other phenomena.