The data that NASA receives from the Parker Solar Probe research mission confirms theories about the structure of the magnetic field of the Sun, which was formed in the early 2000s by researchers from the University of Michigan. This is written by Phys.org.
NASA launched the research space probe on August 12. His mission is to get as close to the cosmic body as possible, as well as to touch the fiery corona of the Sun. The device is equipped with a protective screen that will not allow it to melt at extremely high temperatures near the star – it exceeds 1,000°C.
In the next seven years, Parker Solar Probe (Parker) will have to break its own record. The probe will replace many orbits around the Sun and at the maximum point of convergence will be at a distance of 6.16 million km from the cosmic body. It is planned that the maximum approach of the research apparatus to the Sun will occur in December 2024 – then the probe will fit 6 million km to the star.
Parker has already approached the Sun three times – then it approached a distance of 24 million km. During the next approach, the probe will not only set a record for distance to the Sun, but also for speed. During the fourth approach, the Parker approached the Sun 18.6 million km. In addition, the probe set two new records – the speed of the man-made spacecraft 393 044 km/h and the temperature – the protective screen, under which all scientific instruments are located, warmed up to 612°C, while its internal part and scientific equipment remained at a temperature of about 30°C.
According to new probe data, the solar atmosphere, consisting of plasma and magnetic fields, moves according to the general scheme of global circulation. Moreover, next to the star itself, the solar wind – the flow of charged particles from the surface – is surrounded by sharp changes in the direction of the magnetic field, called reverse switching, through which the solar wind flows at an accelerated speed. All this, one way or another, was predicted by scientists back in the 2000s.
In addition, the coronal magnetic field of the sun moves along the surface of the star using a process called interchange reconnection – when the closed loops of the magnetic field that occur on the surface of the sun align with the open lines of the magnetic field that travel into the solar system.
Each of these elements reveals the fundamental processes taking place in the sun. In the future, scientists will continue to study the Sun – this allows both to better understand the mechanisms of the emergence of the Solar system, and to learn how to predict solar storms.