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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Records First-ever Flythrough of Sun’s Corona Mass Ejection

KOMPAS.com – NASA’s Parker Solar Probe became the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun’s Corona Mass Ejection (CME) and succeeded in recording the entire event.

CMEs are smoke ring-like eruptions spewed by sunspots, which are regions on the sun’s surface where strong magnetic fields are created by the flow of electric charges.

Also read: Parker Solar Probe, First Spacecraft to Successfully Touch the Sun

Once released, CMEs travel millions of kilometers per hour, sweeping up charged particles from the solar wind to form giant combined waves.

Quoting Live Science, Friday (22/9/2023) video footage from the Parker Solar Probe shows the vehicle passing through a massive solar eruption on September 5 2022.

The probe flies through the leading edge of the plasma wave before moving to the other side.

By studying these amazing recordings, scientists can piece together even more mysterious dynamics within the sun in an effort to better predict solar explosions that threaten Earth.

New scientists published their findings exactly a year later, namely September 5 in The Astrophysical Journal.

“This is the closest approach to the Sun that we have ever observed. We have never seen an event of this magnitude at such a distance,” Nour Raouafi, Parker Solar Probe project scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, said in a statement.

Observing the Sun

The Parker Solar Probe itself was launched towards the sun in August 2018.

This vehicle is equipped with a heat shield and radiator so it can fly close to the sun.

While flying through the CME, Parker Solar Probe flew at an altitude of 9.2 million km above the surface of the sun.

Also read: Breaking the record, the Parker spacecraft is closest to the sun

The Parker Solar Probe spent two days observing the solar explosion, allowing scientists to study the evolution of the CME in detail that had never been captured before.

From the footage scientists saw three stages in the evolution of the explosion.

The first two waves are shock waves and solar plasma, followed by the flow of the solar wind. Then the third stage is a trail of slow moving particles.

This third stage still confuses scientists. They also don’t know how to connect it to the other two parts.

Figuring out how solar flares work is critical to protecting our planet from powerful geomagnetic storms.

While Earth’s magnetic field can absorb most of a CME’s impact, stronger geomagnetic storms could cause satellites to fall to Earth, damage electrical systems, and potentially cripple the internet.

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2023-09-22 07:34:00
#Parker #Solar #Probe #Spacecraft #Pass #Solar #Explosion #Kompas.com

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