ESA's Proba-3 Mission: Creating Artificial Solar Eclipses to Study the Sun's Corona

Nikolai Volkov
1 min read

Europe’s Space Agency to Create Artificial Solar Eclipses

The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to launch a mission, known as Proba-3, to study the Sun’s corona by creating artificial solar eclipses. Two spacecraft will be flown in precise formation to block out all but the corona, allowing for observation using a coronagraph instrument. The mission presents technical and practical challenges, but the ESA is aiming for six-hour eclipse observations during the crafts’ 19-hour, 36-minute orbits.

Key Takeaways:

  • ESA plans to create artificial solar eclipses to study the Sun’s corona.
  • Two spacecraft will be flown in precise formation, with one blocking the corona for observation by the other.
  • The mission, known as Proba-3, aims to measure the Sun’s total energy output to inform climate modeling.


Studying the Sun’s corona is crucial due to its impact on solar wind and potential effects on Earth, such as coronal mass ejections causing auroras and electrical outages. The Proba-3 mission holds the potential to enhance our understanding of the Sun’s influence on our solar system’s weather.

Do You Know?

  • Coronagraphs are limited in their capabilities due to light diffraction, making the development of Proba-3 an innovative solution.
  • The mission's success could significantly contribute to climate modeling and our understanding of solar phenomena.
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