A beautiful composite image of the North Pole of the Sun created from photographs taken by the European Space Agency's Proba-2 satellite. Proba-2 launched in 2009 to watch the space weather.
Credit: ESA / Royal Observatory of Belgium
When winter falls on the northern hemisphere, like so many dinner guests on a plate of latkes, it's a good time to dream of warmer climes. May we recommend a visit to the North Pole today? (Today's forecast requires a low of 7,300 degrees Fahrenheit or 4,000 degrees Celsius.)
Even in satellite images, our view of the sun is limited to the solar disk ̵
ESA's Probas 2 satellite data, launched in 2009 to observe the Sun and its plasma, allow scientists to observe the solar atmosphere as they move around the edges of the Sun. Solar disk and sunlight turns over the north pole of the sun. As the sun's surface turns and turns during the day, altering the atmosphere above it, the satellite takes in additional images that can be combined to create a time-lapse picture of the changing atmosphere over the Sun's North Pole. (See a cartoon depicting the whole ESA process for compound images.)
It's not a complete picture – ESA says we will not have one until the agency's Solar Orbiter mission launches in 2020 will have a good feel for what is just not visible on the cap of our next star. For example, if you look at yesterday's picture, you can see a dark vortex around the center of the pole. According to the ESA, this is a coronal hole – a thin area on the sun's surface, where the plasma is colder and less dense than usual, throwing potentially blowing solar winds into outer space.
Direct Pole Observation Will Make Scientists Clearer When you know how the particles leaving these coronal holes affect the rest of our solar system, including EarthAlas, these charged particles of solar energy will probably not make winter on Earth warmer – but you can make it a little bit more colorful. 19659009] Originally published on Live Science .