The NASA spacecraft that got so close to a star and found the source of a solar wind

It is called Solar Parker Probe, and it came within 20 million kilometers of the star according to official reports.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) deepened the study of solar winds thanks to a new way based on information collected by the Solar Parker Probe spacecraft. The prestigious magazine ‘Nature’ has recently published the results obtained.

This spacecraft is currently the fastest and closest to the Sun built by mankind. It was designed to withstand the high temperatures of its environment.

Although it has not yet reached its maximum point of approach to the Sun, expected for 2025, it has already moved close enough to capture the delicate structure of the solar winds originating from the surface of our star, revealing previously unpublished details.

The team led by Stuart D. Bale, Berkeley and James Drake, revealed that this spacecraft was able to detect streams of high-energy particles, which coincide with the hypergranulation inside the coronal holes. These coronal holes are places where the Sun’s magnetic field lines come to the surface. Thanks to this, field lines are generated that open outwards. For a period, these holes stay inside the solar poles, but there are times when the magnetic field changes, so these holes appear all over the surface, generating large gusts of solar wind that impact the Earth. The Solar Parker Probe revelation shows that this is where the fast solar wind originates, traveling at 800 kilometers per second. Until now, the mechanism that generates this phenomenon of which there are 2 types was unknown: the aforementioned fast, and the slow one that goes at 400 kilometers per second.

“The big takeaway is that it’s the magnetic reconnection within these funnel structures that provides the energy source for the fast solar wind. It doesn’t just come from everywhere in a coronal hole, it’s substructured within the coronal holes of these solar cells.” supergranulation. It comes from these little packets of magnetic energy that are associated with convective flows. We think our results are strong evidence that it’s the reconnection that’s doing that.” Stuart Bale stated. By being able to understand how this phenomenon originates, it is easier to predict future solar storms that affect our planet, causing losses in communications, satellites or electrical networks.