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6 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe beams back first insights from sun’s edge

AFP, Paris
Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe beams back first insights from sun’s edge
Car sized and protected by a very thick heat shield, NASA's Parker Solar Probe travels closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history. AFP Photo

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, having survived its closest encounter so far with the Sun, has sent back a “spectacular trove” of data on its corona, the super-hot outer edge of its atmosphere, scientists said Wednesday. The car-sized probe, launched in August last year, will come within some four million miles (six million kilometres) of the sun’s surface during a series of fly-bys at other distances and trajectories over seven years.

It is hoped it will allow a better understanding of the solar wind and electromagnetic storms which can cause chaos on Earth by knocking out the power grid.

One puzzle concerns the corona itself which at one million degrees is many times hotter than the sun’s surface at 6,000C, when it would normally be expected to cool the further from the heat source.

“So the corona finds a way to heat up. We are looking at the physical processes which allow that to happen,” said Alexis Rouillard at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and co-author of one of four reports on the probe’s initial findings published in the journal Nature.

“Even with just these first orbits, we’ve been shocked by how different the corona is when observed up close,” said Justin Kasper, a professor of climate and space sciences and engineering at the University of Michigan.

A summary by the University of Michigan noted that it had been thought that oscillations in the Sun’s magnetic field might have caused the corona to heat up and were expecting to get data to confirm that.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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