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Solar Orbiter: First craft to capture sun’s poles ready for launch

NASA and European Space Agencies(ESA) joint venture ‘Solar Orbiter’ spacecraft is all set to launch next month. The specially manufactured spacecraft capable of moving very close to the sun will be the first to take the images of Sun’s poles at a relatively close distance. The Solar Orbitor will be launched from Cape Canaveral on February 7, 2020, at 11:15 pm EST which converts to 9:45 am IST on February 8, 2020.

The spacecraft will use the gravity of Venus and Earth to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane — the swath of space, roughly aligned with the Sun’s equator, where all planets orbit. All the images of the sun now are from the near-equatorial plane, that is the place where everything in the solar system revolves around the sun. The Solar Orbitor will use the gravitational pull of Venus and Earth to overcome this stable plane and to rise above it to take the pictures of Sun’s North and later the South pole, by moving down the equatorial plane.


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