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What happens when you throw a satellite at the Sun?

13 Feb 2020, 14:16 UTC
What happens when you throw a satellite at the Sun?
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Title: Alfvénic velocity spikes and rotational flows in the near-Sun solar windAuthors: J.C. Kasper, S.D. Bale, et. al.First Author’s Institution: Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, University of Michigan; Smithsonian Astrophysical ObservatoryStatus: Published in Nature [closed access]The Sun isn’t exactly a hospitable place for a satellite. It’s extremely hot, surrounded by a strong flow of charged particles called the solar wind. But recently, NASA launched a new mission called the Parker Solar Probe, designed to dive closer to the Sun than ever before. Its goal is to understand the plasma, magnetic fields, and charged particles near the surface of the Sun, specifically in the solar wind and the tenuous outer layer known as the corona. By learning about these energetic flows of particles around the Sun, we can better understand how the Sun gives off energy, and why (possibly hazardous to Earth) events like solar flares and coronal mass ejections occur.Now that the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) has completed its first two close passages of the Sun (out of 24 total planned!), the mission team has released their first results. We’ll take a look at some of these findings in today’s paper.What’s going on near the Sun?Previous missions, such as ...

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