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Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:46 PM

The Sun Produced a Powerful Interplanetary Shockwave--and It Shook the Whole Solar System

Source: Newsweek

THE SUN PRODUCED A POWERFUL INTERPLANETARY SHOCKWAVE—AND IT SHOOK THE WHOLE SOLAR SYSTEM

BY ARISTOS GEORGIOU ON 8/12/19 AT 12:50 PM EDT

A NASA mission has observed an interplanetary shock produced by the sun and taken high resolution measurements of the phenomena for the first time.

This shock is the result of streams of charged particles that are emitted by the sun—what's known as the "solar wind."

The solar wind can travel at different speeds, and when a faster stream overtakes a slower stream, this can create a shockwave which spreads out across the solar system, according to NASA.

Interplanetary shocks are described as "collisionless" meaning that the particles involved do not transfer their energy by knocking into one another. Instead, they transfer their energy via electromagnetic fields.

These kinds of "collisionless shocks" are found throughout the universe and are associated with some of the most energetic particles known in astrophysics, which are produced by objects such as black holes and supernovae, according to a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics.

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Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/sun-powerful-interplanetary-shockwave-solar-system-1453829

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Related: High‐Resolution Measurements of the Cross‐Shock Potential, Ion Reflection, and Electron Heating at an Interplanetary Shock by MMS (Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics)

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