These images come via the SOHO, SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory, satellite which is a joint mission between NASA and the ESA, European Space Agency. Launched in 1995, SOHO observes the Sun on a permanent basis from a special orbit situated at 1.5 million km from the Earth (halo orbit around the Lagrange point
The EIT, Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, views detail our star in 4 specific wavelengths in the ultraviolet range. They enable scientists to study the daily activity of the Sun and its variations, notably the 11 year cycle.
The two images entitled LASCO, Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph, show the environment near to the Sun. In both cases, our star is hidden so as not to dazzle the instrument (it is depicted by the small white circle in the centre of the image). This makes it possible to observe the solar corona, part of the Sun’s atmosphere which stretches over several millions of kilometres and in which there is intense activity.
LASCO C2 shows the solar corona stretching from 1.5 to 6 solar rays (which is approx. from 1 to 4 million km).
LASCO C3 shows the solar corona stretching from 3.7 to 30 solar rays (which is approx. from 2.5 to 20 million km).
We can see the results of solar flares, comets passing near to our star and even the planets in the solar system when they are in conjunction with the Sun.
SOHO: ESA site
- NASA site