NASA Probe’s Daring Flight Through Sun’s Eruption Sheds Light on Solar Storms

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For the past six years, a Parker Solar Probe has been traveling through the solar system to become the first spacecraft to “touch” the Sun. By getting closer to the star, the probe gathers information about the causes of the Sun’s mysterious outbursts.

During the 2021 approach to the Sun, NASA’s probe captured coronal mass ejections (CMEs), high-energy explosions, in unprecedented detail. When the probe flew into a powerful CME for the first time, it observed turbulent water indicating a rare phenomenon that scientists have long believed occurs on the Sun but had not been able to see.

Findings, detailed paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, provide a new way to better understand the causes of violent explosions from our host star. By doing this, scientists can predict the weather of the sun, which will affect the earth’s electrical energy and its circulation.

Turbulent eddies, or Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities (KHI) as scientists call them, occur when two rapidly moving waters collide. A rare phenomenon occurs on Earth when the wind speed is different between the top and bottom of a cloud, and it appears to move or move.

On the Sun, turbulent eddies can form within the coronal mass ejection where the plasma interacts with the solar wind in the background. “The turbulence that causes the KHI plays an important role in controlling the behavior of CMEs moving in the solar wind,” said Evangelos Paouris, a member of the Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) Science Team, and lead author. of the new paper, said in a words. “Therefore, understanding turbulence is essential for a deeper understanding of CME evolution and kinematics.”

NASA’s spacecraft, which was launched on August 12, 2018, is designed to travel through the Sun’s atmosphere. The solar system uses Venus as an aid to slowly orbit the Sun, and each interstellar encounter lasts 12 days.

Parker Solar Probe has made 18 flybys of the sun so far, and the closest was 4.51 million kilometers (7.26 million miles) from the Sun on December 28, 2023. The probe will make its closest approach in December 2024, when it will reach a distance of 3.83 kilometers. million (6.16 million kilometers) from the Sun—seven times closer than any other spacecraft. It will no longer fly close to the Sun.

Although scientists have been observing the Sun for many years, there is much we do not know about the star we live in. The close encounter between the Sun and the Sun is feeding scientists a wealth of information that will help uncover the great mysteries of the stars.

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