Solar Orbiter - Exploring the Sun-Earth Connection

Professor Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber
University of Kiel


Solar Orbiter is ESA's next solar and heliospheric mission and will explore the innermost solar system, providing the key measurements to answer the question how the Sun creates and controls the heliosphere. This sphere is a giant bubble cut out of the vast neighboring interstellar medium by the solar wind and which protects the Earth and solar system from interstellar material and a large fraction of the galactic cosmic radiation. It is the only "astrosphere" which is accessible to in-situ and detailed studies of the processes creating and controlling it. Solar Orbiter will travel closer to the Sun than ever before and explore the links between Sun and heliosphere where they are still pristine and unprocessed.