Parker Solar Probe from NASA made history from the moment it was launched, as being the fastest moving launch in history. It went close to the sun, closer than any other previous spacecraft, and now NASA has released the results of scans that were made during the first two solar flybys. The research comes with incredible details about the origins of the solar wind.
As of now, Parker has made two passes through the corona, from November 2018 to April 2019. It sent back valorous data to Earth. NASA has launched the spacecraft in August 2018, with the goal of getting more data about the sun’s corona – more than we can get from Earth, with probes that are safe and sound here.
NASA Finds out More About the Solar Winds
For those of you who don’t know, the corona is a layer of plasma that’s placed around the Sun, that’s 300 times hotter than the surface of the sun – at about one million Kelvin. The spacecraft was designed with a heat shield, which consists of 4.5-inch carbon composite foam between two carbon fiber sheets. This kind of protection allows Parker to make trips through the corona.
One of the biggest challenges while studying the solar wind is that, until it reaches Earth, it smooths out. By using FIELDS magnetic field scanner, and the SWEAP – Solar Wind Electron Alphas and Protons – on Parker, researchers found out about switchbacks, when the magnetic field lines invert.
This is actually the cause behind the charged particles that gather into blobs of plasma when they get away from the sun. but in order to know what causes the phenomenon as it is, we will need to do some more studying. The most important discovery is that the solar wind comes from something called “cool holes” from the surface.