Nasa probe sends first data from the Sun's outer atmosphere

06 Décembre, 2019, 13:51 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Illustration of Parker Solar Probe

Parker has crossed three of these stops so far.

The fourth major discovery to date comes from Parker's Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISʘIS) energetic particle instruments.

Parker has reached as close to the Sun as no man-made vehicle has reached. Due to the running of the solar wind also it searched.

The Parker Solar Probe has so far reached a distance of around 24 million kilometres from the Sun, 16% of the Earth-Sun distance, and is expected to continue to make new discoveries over the next five years as it moves much closer. So they launched spacecraft called Parker Solar Probe in 2018, with the mission of repeatedly probing and recording observations of the outer corona of the Sun.

The photo voltaic wind includes charged particles, principally protons and helium nuclei, travelling alongside the Sun's magnetic self-discipline traces, the researchers renowned.

As the probe came within 20 million mi (32 million km) of the Sun, it found that the wind was shifted sideways more, faster than expected, indicating that the interaction of the Sun and its corona is affecting the former's rotation, which could influence its life cycle. And what we've learned in just these three solar orbits alone has changed a lot of what we know about the Sun'.

The first phenomenon that Parker has cast new light on is solar "switchbacks", which is the tendency of the magnetic field inside the orbit of Mercury to flip its direction every few seconds to a few minutes.

These areas of the sun, where magnetic field lines seem to tip, are cooler than the surrounding material at about 1.1 million degrees Fahrenheit (2 million Fahrenheit).

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The origin of the "slow" solar wind, which is denser but about half the speed of the "fast" solar wind, is more poorly understood. The lead author of this research and Professor of University of California, Stuart Bell said, 'By analyzing these data we can see the magnetic structure of the corona, which It tells us that solar winds are coming out of small coronal holes.

Both questions have ramifications for how we predict, detect and prepare for solar storms and coronal mass ejections that can have dramatic impacts on Earth's power grid and on astronauts.

Another surprise, the researchers said, was the dust that peppered the spacecraft repeatedly during each fly-by at perihelion - the point in the orbit where the spacecraft was closest to the Sun.

"We're finding these discrete, powerful waves that wash over the spacecraft, kind of like rogue waves in an ocean", Kasper explained.

During its scorching journey, the probe will orbit the Sun 24 times while being subjected to extreme heat and radiation, with temperatures expected to reach 1,377C, almost hot enough to melt steel.

The more we learn about what's going on the Sun, the better we understand how it shapes the space we live in.

The probe is named after US solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker who first developed the theory of solar wind, describing a system of magnetic fields, energetic particles and plasmas that make up the phenomenon. That is already closer to the Sun than Mercury, but the spacecraft will get even closer in the future, as it travels at more than 213,000 miles per hour, faster than any previous spacecraft.


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