Must see: NASA, ESA release closest photos of sun

NASA and ESA release the closest images of the sun

The NASA and European Space Agency’s joint mission to capture images of the sun has paid off.

The two space agencies released the closest images of the sun ever produced.

The photos were sent by the solar orbiter which was launched on Feb. 9.

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The orbiter’s first close pass was made in mid-June. The photos were taken within 48 million miles of the sun.

Scientists said they were surprised to get the photos so quickly.

“These unprecedented pictures of the Sun are the closest we have ever obtained. These amazing images will help scientists piece together the Sun’s atmospheric layers, which is important for understanding how it drives space weather near the earth and throughout the solar system,” Holly Gilbert, NASA mission project scientist said.

Some of the photos show what scientists are calling “campfires” on the sun’s surface.

“The campfires we are talking about here are the little nephews of solar flares, at least a million, perhaps a billion times smaller,” David Berghmans, principal investigator at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, said. “When looking at the new high-resolution EUI (extreme ultraviolet imager) images, they are literally everywhere we look.”

Click here to read more about the mission.