ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft has sent back its first images of the Sun. At 77 million kilometres from the surface, this is the closest a camera has ever flown to our nearest star. The pictures reveal features on the Sun’s exterior that have never been seen in detail before.
Launched on 10 February 2020, the spacecraft completed its commissioning phase and first close-approach to the Sun in mid-June. Since then, science teams have been processing and examining this early data.
The spacecraft is currently in its cruise phase, on its way to Venus, but will eventually get even closer to the Sun.