[U] Latest International Solar Probe Mission — Has Safely Left Earth Orbit — En Route, To Solar Capture Orbit Now…

Parker will soon have a buddie, orbiting our host star. . . .

Here’s the latest, out of mission control:

. . . .It will take Solar Orbiter about two years to reach its primary science orbit.

Solar Orbiter combines two main modes of study. In-situ instruments will measure the environment around the spacecraft, detecting such things as electric and magnetic fields and passing particles and waves. The remote-sensing instruments will image the Sun from afar, along with its atmosphere and its outflow of material, collecting data that will help scientists understand the Sun’s inner workings.

During the mission’s cruise phase, which lasts until November 2021, the spacecraft’s in-situ instruments will gather scientific data about the environment around the spacecraft, while the remote-sensing telescopes will focus on calibration to prepare for science operations near the Sun. The cruise phase includes three gravity assists that Solar Orbiter will use to draw its orbit closer to the Sun: two past Venus in December 2020 and August 2021, and one past Earth in November 2021.

Following its Earth gravity assist, Solar Orbiter will begin the primary phase of its mission – leading up to its first close pass by the Sun in 2022 – at about a third the distance from the Sun to Earth. Throughout its mission, Solar Orbiter will use successive Venus gravity assists to draw its orbit closer to the Sun and lift it out of the ecliptic plane.

Solar Orbiter’s unique orbit will bring the spacecraft out of the plane that roughly aligns with the Sun’s equator where Earth and the other planets orbit. Spacecraft launched from Earth naturally stay in this plane, which means that telescopes on Earth and telescopes on satellites have limited views of the Sun’s north and south poles. . . .

Onward then — grinning, at the audacity of the engineering involved. . . and the prowess of John Donne’s literary conceit. . . “This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere”. . . simply jaw slacking.

Updated: sublime bonus vocals [from a mostly forgettable movie, sever her singing] — last night. . . put me in mind of her gifts, again — after the Donne verses;

नमस्ते

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