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Wed Dec 4, 2019, 03:13 PM

Nasa's Parker Solar Probe beams back first insights from sun's edge

Nasa's Parker Solar Probe beams back first insights from sun's edge
Flying closer than any other mission, spacecraft set to unravel the sun’s mysteries

Hannah Devlin Science correspondent
@hannahdev
Wed 4 Dec 2019 13.00 EST

Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe, which has flown closer to the sun than any spacecraft, has beamed back its first observations from the edge of the sun’s scorching atmosphere.

The first tranche of data offers clues to long-standing mysteries, including why the sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona, is hundreds of times hotter than its surface, as well as the precise origins of the solar wind.

“The first three encounters of the solar probe that we have had so far have been spectacular,” said Prof Stuart Bale, a physicist at the University of California, in Berkeley, who led the analysis from one of the craft’s instruments. “We can see the magnetic structure of the corona, which tells us that the solar wind is emerging from small coronal holes; we see impulsive activity, large jets or switchbacks, which we think are related to the origin of the solar wind. And we are also surprised by the ferocity of the dust environment.”

Over the next six years, the car-sized spacecraft will follow an ever-closer elliptical orbit, eventually swooping so near that it will technically “touch” the sun. A drawback of being at such close quarters is that Parker will not be sending pictures home. If it swivelled towards the sun its camera would melt, so the spacecraft’s instruments gaze sideways, measuring the stream of supersonic charged particles that make up the solar wind.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/dec/04/nasas-parker-solar-probe-beams-back-first-insights-from-suns-edge

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Reply Nasa's Parker Solar Probe beams back first insights from sun's edge (Original post)
Judi Lynn Wednesday OP
Dave in VA Wednesday #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Dec 4, 2019, 03:34 PM

1. Super cool....!

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