Biography & Net Worth: The spacecraft “touched” the sun for the first time

For the first time in history, a spacecraft entered the Sun

The spacecraft “touched” the Sun for the first time. credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins APL / Ben Smith

On April 28, 2021, at 0933 UT (3:33 a.m. Eastern Daytime), NASA’s Parker Solar Probe reached the Sun’s extended solar atmosphere, called the corona, where it spent five hours. Spacecraft first enter the outer limits of our Sun.

the result is, physical review paperOn December 14. The manuscript was announced at a press conference at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall 2021 conference in open access and can be downloaded for free.

“It marks a new era in achieving the core objectives of the Parker mission and understanding the physics of the corona,” said lead author, BWX Technologies, and the university’s deputy chief technology officer. Professor Justin C. Kasper said. of Michigan. The mission is led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL).

The probe made the first direct observation of what is in the Sun’s atmosphere, only to measure previously predicted events.

The outer edge of the Sun begins at Alfven’s critical plane. At the point below it, the Sun and its gravitational magnetic force directly control the solar wind. Many scientists believe that the sudden reversal of the Sun’s magnetic field, called a switchback, originates from this region.

“The concept of sending a spacecraft into the Sun’s magnetic environment was close enough that the magnetic energy exceeded both the kinetic and thermal energy of ions and electrons, and even before NASA.” Kasper said.

In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe with the aim of finally reaching the Sun’s corona and allowing humanity to travel to the stars for the first time.

In April of this year, the probe spent five hours under the Alfven critical plane in direct contact with the solar plasma. Underneath its surface, the pressure and energy of the Sun’s magnetic field was stronger than the pressure and energy of the particles. The spacecraft passed above and below the surface of the water three times separately during the encounter. This is the first time a spacecraft has entered the Sun’s corona and I have touched the Sun’s atmosphere.

Artist’s concept of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the Sun. credit: NASA / Johnson Hopkins APL / Steve Gribben

Surprisingly, the researchers found that the critical plane of the Alfven wave was wrinkled. The data show that the largest and farthest wrinkles on the surface were generated by the pseudo-streamer. It is a large magnetic structure over 40° in diameter at the Sun’s innermost visible surface. It is currently unknown why the pseudo-streamer keeps the critical plane of Alfven away from the Sun.

Researchers have observed that far less switchback occurs below the Alfvén critical plane than above. This discovery could mean that no switchback is formed within the corona. Alternatively, the rate of the Sun’s magnetic reconnection is low. The air flow observed at the water surface is given less mass, which can result in less switchback.

The investigation also recorded some evidence of possible power surges inside the corona. This may indicate an unknown physics that affects heating and dissipation.

“We have been watching the Sun and its corona for decades. We know that there’s an interesting physics that is happening to heat up and accelerate the solar wind plasma. Still, that’s physics. We can’t know exactly what it is,” said Noor E. Roufi. Parker Solar Probe project scientist at JHU/APL. “As Parker Solar Probe flies to the magnetically dominated corona, you’ll find this mysterious The long-awaited insight into the inner workings of the region will be gained.”

The observations were made during the Parker Solar Probe’s eighth encounter with the Sun. All data is published in the NASAPSP archive. Several previous studies have predicted that the probe will first pass within the boundaries of the Sun in 2021.

Parker Solar Probe is the fastest known object built by humans and has been around since its launch. The explosion that creates space weather and that is the danger of ultra-fast dust ..

The new discoveries reveal much about the physics of stellar corona heating and solar wind formation from direct spacecraft observations. After achieving its target of touching the Sun, Parker Solar Probe descends deep into the Sun’s atmosphere and continues for a long time.

According to the Gary Zank Research Solar Wind Electron Alpha and Proton (SWEAP) instrument and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, “We cannot exaggerate the importance of both the events and the observations with Parker Solar Probe at the dawn of the space age.” To drive the solar wind. Understanding the physics behind the acceleration of the solar wind since Parker’s model of formation has led the heliosphere community to the unsolved problem of heating the solar corona above 1 million degrees Celsius. Is. “

“This phenomenon is something that many heliophysicists have dreamed of for most of their careers!” Junk has been added.


Parker Solar Probe completes record swing by the Sun


for more information:
Jesse Casper et al, Parker Solar Probe enters a magnetically dominated solar corona, physical review paper (2021). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.127.255101

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American Physical Society

Citation: Parker Solar Probe: Spacecraft “touches” the Sun for the first time (December 14, 2021) December 14, 2021 https://phys.org/news/2021-12-parker-solar-probe-spacecraft – from the Sun get .html

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