NASA's Parker Solar Probe Enters Sun's Upper Atmosphere

Jay Kakade
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NASA's Parker Solar Probe in Upper Solar Atmosphere
An Illustration of Parker Solar Probe into the surface of Sun's Atmosphere. (Image Credit: SciTechDaily)

For the first time in history of mankind, NASA's Parker Solar Probe has entered The Corona - Upper Atmosphere of Sun, capturing observations of magnetic fields and particles.

This is very significant event to understand the working of Sun. As landing of Moon Rover helped us to understand the formation of Moon, In same way NASA's Parker Solar Probe will to help us to study its formation and influence on other planets.

Touching the Sun is a monumental moment. Probe will not only give us idea of its evolution and impact but also the deeper information of Sun. Which will help us to better understand rest of the universe, said the Thomas Zurbuchen, An associate director of Space Mission at NASA.

Solar Parker is very close to Sun's Surface than other probes. This probe will be able to effectively determine new discoveries. It is close enough to see through solar winds. Studying solar winds will be beneficial to understand its impact more accurately.

In 2019, Parker Solar Probe discovered a magnetic zigzag structures in solar winds called switchbacks. But how do they originate is still a mystery. But at this time Probe was little away. Now it has reached to its better position i.e. Closer to Solar Surface

As Parker Solar Probe has entered Corona, It is now able to sense magnetic conditions of Corona way better than we did before. Researchers has collected data of magnetic fields, solar winds and have collected images too.

Solar Probe In Sun's Atmosphere
An concept illustration of Solar Probe in Sun's Atmosphere. (Image Credit: NASA)


NASA's Parker Solar Probe into Sun's Atmosphere


NASA's Parker Solar Probe was launched in 2018, to effectively study our closest star by moving way too closer to Sun's Surface. Its been three years after which Probe has reached desired place.

Though Sun has no hard surface as do Earth has, But it has superheated atmosphere which is bound to the Sun by strong Gravitational Force.
More severe hitting and pressure of Sun pushes materials out of it. This materials reach at a point called Alfvén critical surface, which is out from influence of Gravity of Sun. This is place which marks the beginning of Solar Winds.

Earlier astronomers were unsure of position of Alfvén critical surface. But now with the help of Parker Solar Probe they can determine exact origin of it.

On April 28, 2021 - During a flyby, Probe sensed some magnetic and particle condition from Sun. This marked a event of passing of Alfvén critical surface and entering to Sun's Atmosphere.

While Parker Solar Probe was on flybys, it passed in and again out into Alfvén critical surface. Some says this is a proof that Alfvén critical surface is not round but more like spikes.
If astronomers are abled to study more accurately about this area, it will give us a idea how Sun's Activities affects Solar Surface and Earth too.

In one instance, Solar Probe so deep into the Surface (about 15 solar foci). It encountered with Solar Phenomenon called Pseudostreamers. Pseudostreamers are massive structures formed in Sun and are seen from Earth during Eclipses.

Parker Solar Probe facing Psudostreamers
Solar Probe facing Pseudostreamers. (Image Credit: NASA)

When Probe was way deep into surface it faced some unusual activities. While experiencing Pseudostreamers other solar activities stopped. Solar particles were slowed down, number of switchbacks were lowered. This change was recorded for the first time of Sun's Surface.

Later Probe was in such area where magnetic fields were strong enough to dominate movement of particles. Astronomers states, This may be proof that prove must have passed by Alfvén critical surface and entered Solar Atmosphere.

Probe will continue to face such phenomenon as Solar Probes will continue to get going into the Sun's Atmosphere till 8 Solar Foci.

Astronomers says we are very keen to see what happens when Probe will enter new areas. Boundaries to the discoveries are endless.

As the size of Corona is determined by Solar Activities. There will be some instances where probe will get more time to be in the Corona.
This will be key to explore Sun with greater accuracy.
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