NASA‘s Parker Solar Probe has sent back to Earth a bunch of new data that may have uncovered the mysterious way solar winds are birthed. The probe has managed to snap the images as it flew by the Sun, shining a new light on how space elements function.
The first mission to the Sun has had the space satellite reach the star’s corona, or outer atmosphere, where temperatures reach a few million degrees. In this particular region, the probe discovered rugged ripples perturbing sections of that atmosphere, a finding that could help solve the ancient mystery about the Sun.
Parker Solar Probe’s observations could also help scientists predict when the Sun is going to expel towards Earth’s atmosphere, hot jets of plasma, which create powerful magnetic storms and widespread blackouts.
NASA’s satellite, which is approximately the size of a massive car, launched in August 2018, and it since completed two full orbits around the Sun, flying within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the solar outer layers. The probe passed through the Sun’s corona, the source of the solar wind that can very powerfully hit our planet. Parker Solar Probe will try getting closer to the Sun in its future orbits, but it had already helped scientists incredibly with its findings.
Revolutionary Information on the Sun
The latest discoveries brought by the spacecraft has somehow contradicted some expectations that astronomers had about the way solar winds behave. As per the results, there are twirls in the Sun’s magnetic field direction known as switchbacks, which can, at times, even purpose the winds back at the star.
At the moment, the origin of these switchbacks is not known by astronomers, but by understanding them, they could learn a deeper comprehension of how stars in the Universe are born.
Astronomers were rather surprised at the finding of solar winds traveling at a velocity that is about ten times larger than earlier believed based on standard models, Justin Kasper, principal investigator at the University of Michigan, explained.
Scientists also found out that the Sun’s radiation atomizes dust particles at approximately 3.5 million miles around itself. NASA’s Parker probe is currently encountering incredibly hot environments, but researchers believe the data it is sending to Earth is no less than revolutionary.