By European Area Firm (ESA)
January 7, 2021
These 366 images of the Sun were made by ESA’s Proba-2 satellite in 2020.
This satellite is continuously keeping track of the altering activity of the Sun. One image was chosen to represent every day of the year (consisting of leap day February 29 in 2020).
The images were taken by the satellite’s SWAP video camera, which works at severe ultraviolet wavelengths to catch the Sun’s hot unstable environment (the corona) at temperature levels of about a million degrees Celsius
In two images– June 21 and December 14– a partial solar eclipse shows up from Proba-2’s point-of-view.
2020 marked the start of a new solar activity cycle– cycle 25– which lasts about 11 years on average. At the beginning of the year the Sun still showed low levels of activity, however at the end of the year it already showed signs of awakening.
In the images of November and December, multiple active areas are visible. These regions represent areas of extreme magnetic activity that can produce a few of the most dramatic space weather events, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. One of these effective ejections was recorded by the ESA/ NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ( SOHO) on November 29.
2020 was an important year for solar research study, with the launch of ESA’s Solar Orbiter objective on February10 One of the crucial concerns for ESA’s Solar Orbiter objective is to comprehend what drives the 11- year solar cycle.
With its suite of 10 cutting edge instruments, Solar Orbiter will carry out unprecedented close-up observations of the Sun and from high-latitudes, supplying the first pictures of the uncharted polar regions of the Sun, and examining the Sun-Earth connection. The mission will offer extraordinary insight into how our parent star works and how we can better forecast durations of stormy space weather.
Proba-2 has currently supported Solar Orbiter during the mission’s preparation, as innovation heritage has passed from the satellite’s SWAP imager to the Solar Orbiter Extreme Ultraviolet Imager. Proba-2 will continue observing the Sun and supporting scientific campaigns on Solar Orbiter and other objectives in the coming years.