The Sun, like every star, is not static but an ever-changing, dynamic and highly complex ball of plasma. The solar wind, a stream of highly energetic particles ejected by the Sun's surface, is interacting with our Earth's own magnetosphere. ESA has launched missions that contributed enormously to a better understanding of the Sun and its interaction with the Earth. Today's transmission not only looks at the Soho, Cluster and Ulysses missions but also at the future missions to explore the Sun and the solar system
The 6-minute A-roll contains split audio with an English guide track and is complemented by a B-roll.
Since ancient times, the moon, the planets and the sun have attracted the attention of amateur observers and astronomers alike.
Only in the space age was it finally possible to approach these celestial bodies and unveil their physical and chemical mysteries. And although we cannot travel very closely to the Sun, space missions have taught us a lot about our own star.
Since the early 1970s, the European Space Agency ESA also set an emphasis on studying the interaction of the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles emitted by the Sun, with the Earth's own magnetosphere.
Often in co-operation with NASA, each ESA space mission has been focusing on topical scientific questions. Spectacular findings and basic research have been securing Europe a leading role in this field of astrophysics.
Ulysses, launched back in 1990, was the first spacecraft ever to watch the Sun at it's poles - a region, which had never been observed before. Ulysses has given us the full picture about the seasonal changes in the