The First Results Are in From NASA’s Closest Flyby of the Sun

The Parker Solar Probe sent back its first batch of results and the observations reveal various solar oddities never seen from Earth.

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One year ago, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe flew closer to the Sun than any satellite in history and the mission has returned with unprecedented data from the near-Sun flybys about the behavior of the Sun, the Sun’s solar wind, and its magnetic field.

And the findings, collected by the probe between late 2019 and April 2019, are blowing scientists minds.

The Parker Solar Probe is a specialized spacecraft that is capable of getting closer than ever to the Sun’s surface

So what exactly has Parker found that’s got everyone so excited?

From its close vantage point to the Sun, the new data collected has presented the possible source for “slow” solar wind, a phenomenon that has been a long-standing mystery within the scientific community.

Slow solar winds move at speeds less than 500 km per second, and the source for slow solar wind has remained unknown…until now.

By spending roughly a week observing the coronal holes—areas of colder, darker low-density plasma— the Parker Solar Probe was able to strongly correlate coronal holes located near the sun’s equator, to the origin of slow solar wind.

But that wasn’t even the most surprising part from the brand new information!

Find out more about the other surprising Parker Probe reveals (think magnetic field and cosmic dust, or lack thereof) on this Elements.

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