WASHINGTON-Europe’s audacious Solar Orbiter probe has lifted off on its quest to study the Sun from close quarters.

The €1.5bn (£1.3bn) mission is packed with cameras and sensors that should reveal remarkable new insights on the workings of our star.

Scientists want to better understand what drives its dynamic behaviour.

The spacecraft launched aboard an Atlas rocket, which lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 04:03 GMT (23:03 local time Sunday).

The Sun will occasionally eject billions of tonnes of matter and entangled magnetic fields that can disrupt activity at Earth.

The worst of these storms will trip the electronics on satellites, interfere with radio communications and even knock over power grids.

Researchers hope the knowledge gained from Solar Orbiter (SolO) will improve the models used to forecast the worst of the outbursts.

The probe is a flagship venture of the European Space Agency (Esa), but with the participation of its US counterpart, Nasa.

And it’s the Americans who’ve taken on the responsibility for launching SolO.

SolO will be put on a path that takes it periodically to within 42 million km (26 million miles) of the Sun’s surface. That’s closer in than the planet Mercury where the temperatures are searing.

To survive, the probe will have to work from behind a large titanium shield. Pictures will be snapped through peepholes that must be closed after a data-gathering session to prevent internal components from melting. “We’ve had to develop lots of new technologies in order to make sure that the spacecraft can survive temperatures of up to 600C,” said Dr Michelle Sprake, a systems engineer with European aerospace manufacturer Airbus.

“One of the coatings that makes sure the spacecraft doesn’t get too hot is actually made out of baked animal bones,” she told BBC News.