NASA Spacecraft Investigating the Sun Finds New Information about the Solar Wind

A spacecraft that is traveling extremely close to the sun is said to have revealed new information about the composition of solar wind. The solar wind is produced by a constant outflow of plasma, or charged particles, from the sun’s outermost atmosphere into space. The corona is the name given to such atmosphere. Scientists have revealed that they have discovered new details on solar wind from data gathered by the Parker Solar Probe. The spacecraft is operated by NASA, an American space organization. The primary objective of NASA’s 2018 Parker Solar Probe launch was to investigate solar wind. According to scientists, understanding how solar activity affects Earth requires a detailed examination of the solar wind and the corona.

The surface of the sun is not solid, in contrast to Earth. Rather, it is a material ball that is superheated and kept together by magnetic and gravitational forces. Solar wind is the result of some solar material escaping the sun and entering space. Researchers declared in 2021 that the Parker Solar Probe had made its first-ever entry into the solar corona. The successful mission was hailed by NASA as “touching” the sun. Parker entered the solar outer atmosphere at a distance of roughly 13 million kilometers from the sun’s center, according to scientists. The spacecraft’s data revealed that solar wind may travel at up as 1.6 million kilometers per hour. The heliosphere is a massive magnetic barrier formed by solar wind.

The evidence gathered, according to the study, indicates that these particles are blasted from the sun in a manner much to how water comes out of a shower head. The sun’s corona has holes through which the particles are discharged. The data, according to the researchers, points to these apertures as the solar wind’s origins. Previous studies have discovered that solar wind is somehow propelled by the sun’s magnetic field. Its source is identified for the first time in this investigation. Lead author of the study James Drake is a physics professor at the University of Maryland. “Understanding the (source) behind the sun’s wind is important for practical reasons on Earth,” he said in a release. “Winds carry lots of information from the sun to Earth.”

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