The mission involves a spacecraft called the Solar Orbiter, a joint project between the US space agency NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Solar Orbit is said to travel in an ecliptic way just like other planets and travel around the sun documenting the whole journey. The Atlas V used for this launch was configured with a payload fairing 13 feet in diameter to accommodate the Orbiter, and used a single solid rocket motor to provide the necessary propulsive power.
The spacecraft contains powerful telescopes and instruments to measure solar magnetism, radio waves, particles and radiation.
Solar Orbiter took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 11:03 p.m. ET Sunday, NASA said.
During that phase, the Solar Orbiter will also use three gravity assists - two past Venus in December 2020 and August 2021, and one past Earth in November 2021 - to get closer to the sun. This is the imaginary plane that extends from the Sun's equator. It is also the plane where all the planets orbit.More news: Trump unveils election-year budget plan
Solar Orbiter launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, feating a unique, specific configuration of this launch vehicle designed particularly to acquire the nearly 4,000 lb tracking craft off Earth and on its target route to finally approach the Sun.
Cameras will be stored behind a protective heat shield, with apertures that open only briefly when needed.
With a custom-designed titanium heat shield, it is created to withstand temperatures as high as 500 Celsius (930 Fahrenheit). The probe will use these tools to investigate how the Sun generates its heliosphere, the giant bubble that extends to the edges of the Solar System that consists of the solar winds that it emits. Between the two, scientists will finally be able to have a better understanding about the star that lets life on Earth keep chugging along. That trajectory carries the spacecraft deep into the sun's atmosphere, called the corona, where the probe's instruments focus on the spacecraft's immediate surroundings, measuring magnetic fields and particles of plasma, the charged soupy state of matter that makes up the sun. In addition, the instruments on Ulysses, which was launched in 1990, were not as sensitive as those on the current mission.More news: Williams plans to sign with Bucks after finalizing Hornets buyout
"You can't really get much closer than Solar Orbiter is going and still look at the Sun", ESA's Muller said. "Combined with the other recently launched NASA missions to study the Sun, we are gaining unprecedented new knowledge about our star", Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for Science at the agency's headquarters in Washington, said in the release.
"The magnetic field at the Sun's poles are controlling the overall magnetic structure of the interplanetary magnetic field". This means the sun's north and south magnetic poles change places. They then flip back after another 11 years. At around the 76-minute point, the solar arrays were extended and the assembled scientists and engineers were able to breathe again.
Before the flip happens, there is a major increase in solar activity. That is where Solar Orbiter will shine. During the nominal mission of seven years, this will see it reach a latitude of 25 degrees, where it will collect images and data of the Sun's polar regions that have never been gathered before.More news: Trump's furious phone call with Boris revealed: President was ‘apoplectic’