Solar Orbiter Observed Mercury passing Infront of Sun
In our solar system, the nearest planet to the Sun is Mercury, which is around one-third the size of Earth and appears tiny compared to a sun diameter of around 865,000 miles.
In 2020, The Solar Orbiter satellite was launched collaboratively by NASA and the European Space Agency. A sun-observing satellite aims to collect data on solar activities adjacent to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.
On 3rd January, The Solar Orbiter observed a small and dark planet, Mercury passing in front of the Sun at around 29 miles per second speed and bringing the size of our solar system into noticeable view.
The Solar Orbiter took several images of the transit. Its Polarimetric, and Helioseismic Imager (PHI) measures the magnetic field of the Sun. The Extreme Ultraviolet Imager captures the planet, which records the strong dynamics of the Sun’s corona (defined as the outermost part of the Sun) and makes Mercury appear extremely small next to the arc of the Sun.
Another solar orbiter, Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment (SPICE), revealed that Mercury, along with transiting the Sun, also passes in front of the various solar atmospheric layers.
The future solar orbit mission of Mercury will occur in June and will have the close approach of the Sun in April.