In NASA spacecraft ‘touches’ the sun for the first time

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NASA scientists say the Parker Solar Probe has managed to enter the Sun’s corona atmosphere, where it has never been before.
In NASA spacecraft 'touches' the sun for the first time
Image courtesy of the Parker Solar Probe, created by an artist on July 6, 2018 (AFP, Handout, Johns Hopkins APL, NASA)

NASA says one of its spacecraft has officially “touched” the sun. NASA scientists say the Parker Solar Probe has managed to enter the Sun’s atmosphere called Corona, where it has never been before.

The scientists made the announcement during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The Parker Solar Probe actually approached the sun for the eighth time in April and entered its atmosphere.

The scientists said it took a few months to get the data and then several more months to verify. Johns Hopkins University project scientist Noor Raufi called it “fascinatingly interesting.

The Parker spacecraft, launched in 2018, was 800,000 miles (13 million kilometers) away from the center of the Sun when it first crossed the uneven line between the solar atmosphere and the outgoing solar winds.

According to scientists, the spacecraft went to and from Corona at least three times, each time the transfer was smooth. The most dramatic time was when we were under the air for the first time,” Justin Casper of the University of Michigan told reporters.

Five hours is a very short time, but according to him, Parker was moving so fast that he covered a great distance,” he said. The plane was moving at a speed of more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) per second.

According to Raufy, Corona turned out to be dustier than expected. He said more future Corona visits would help scientists understand how solar winds begin, how they get warmer, and how they are released into space.

The sun does not have a solid surface, so Corona is the place where all the action takes place. A closer exploration of this intense magnetic field will help scientists understand solar flares

Preliminary data show that Parker entered Corona for the ninth time in August, passing close to the sun.

But scientists say more analysis is needed.

Parker made his 10th orbit around the sun last month.

Parker will continue to explore the depths of the Corona and its final orbit will be in 2025

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