Europe's Solar Orbiter makes first close pass of Sun

Europe's Solar Orbiter makes first close pass of Sun
In a massive development, Europe's Solar Orbiter (SolO) has made its first close pass of the Sun on Monday, tracking by at a distance of just over 77 million km.

Launched in February, the aim of this mission is to explore and understand the dynamic behavior of Sun.

The close pass, known as a perihelion, puts the probe between the orbits of Venus and Mercury.

It is predicted by scientists that in the coming years this solar orbiter is expected to go within 43 million km of the Sun on occasions.

Earlier, only five other solar missions including Mariner 10, Helios 1 & 2, Messenger, and Parker Solar Probe have made close pass to the inner Solar System.

Earth orbits 149 million km (93 million miles) on average from the Sun.

SolO, which is a European Space Agency (Esa) craft, has assembled in the UK by the aerospace company Airbus.

"I was so nervous when we launched," said Prof Horbury, the project lead. "I guess the more you know about a project, the more you know about the things that can go wrong. But Solar Orbiter is out there, it's working and it's going to be a fantastic success."