This animation shows a sequence of of images from the Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager (PHI) on ESA’s Solar Orbiter. PHI measures the magnetic field near the Sun’s surface and allows the investigation of the Sun’s interior via the technique of helioseismology.
The first image is a visible light image and represents what we would see with the naked eye. The second image shows the Sun’s granulation pattern that results from the movement of hot plasma under the Sun’s visible surface on a small patch of the Sun (approximately 200 000 km x 200 000 km across). The third image is a magnetogram, a map of magnetic propertied for the whole Sun, also featuring a large magnetically active region in the lower right-hand quadrant of the Sun. The fourth image is a ‘tachogram’ for the same small patch of the Sun, showing the line of sight velocity, with blue areas turning to us and red areas turning away: the granulation pattern can be seen as well as the change from blue to red, which signifies the overall rotation of the Sun. The fifth image is a tachogram of the full Sun, showing the overall rotation. The sixth image is a magnetogram of the same small patch, revealing the magnetic properties of that particular region, with dark and light areas show the north and south magnetic polarities of those areas.
Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA and NASA.