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The Solar Orbiter Mission
The Solar Orbiter Mission

Mon, 14 Nov


NMM Lecture Theatre

The Solar Orbiter Mission

At the start of the space age a profound discovery was made; our home planet, and therefore all life on it, is engulfed in the atmosphere of the Sun which stretches out across the Solar System.

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Time & Location

14 Nov 2022, 19:15 – 21:00

NMM Lecture Theatre, Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF, UK

About the Event

This discovery, and the spacecraft that enabled it, sparked a mission to understand the true nature of our relationship with our parent star. Today, this mission has found a new relevance as we know that living in the atmosphere of the Sun can have dramatic consequences on our modern way of living. For these reasons a huge international collaboration has come together to create a spacecraft called Solar Orbiter. Flying dazzlingly close to the Sun, Solar Orbiter is allowing us to view and understand the Sun in a new way. This talk focusses on the Solar Orbiter spacecraft, asking where is it and what is it discovering? And how did teams cross Europe come together to design and build such a complex spacecraft that is experiencing searing temperatures and cost £250 million? Come along to find out how Solar Orbiter is giving us a once in lifetime opportunity to reveal the mysteries of our Sun.


Lucie Green is a renowned solar physicist, science communicator and presenter of Sky At Night. She is Professor of Physics in the Department of Space and Climate Physics, University College London (UCL) and is closely involved with the European Space Agency's ongoing Solar Orbiter Mission through her work at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory. Lucie's research focusses on the study of the evolution of the Sun’s magnetic field and how it drives solar activity that in turn leads to space weather at the Earth. Her early work used new techniques to quantify the amount of magnetic helicity ejected by the Sun during events called coronal mass ejections. The results are important for many areas of solar physics including dynamo theory and the evolution of the global solar magnetic field. More recently, Lucie has focussed on the question of whether or not flux ropes form in the lower solar atmosphere before coronal mass ejections. She is interested in how observations can be used to quantify the magnetic flux in these ropes so that we can better understand their evolution to an unstable and eruptive configuration. This work is important for developing the science that underpins space weather forecasting. 

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