NASA’s Sun probe sheds new light on our star — here are 5 new secrets it uncovered
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published its first findings from the Parker Solar Probe.
- On its mission to get closer than anyone in history, Parker has uncovered five new secrets about the Sun that were previously unknown — including a dust-free zone.
- These new facts can help scientists devise better defenses against radiation causing solar particles that pose a threat to spacecraft and astronauts in outer space.
AdvertisementThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Parker Solar Probe is on a mission to get closer to the Sun than any other human object. Inching closer as it orbits the solar system’s local star, Parker uncovered that Earth’s understanding of the Sun might be deceptively simple.
"This first data from Parker reveals our star, the Sun, in new and surprising ways," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA headquarters.
The findings, published across four papers in Nature, analyse solar wind — the continuous outflow of magnetic fields from the Sun — and the solar particles within it. It’s the key to understanding solar weather, according to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
On Earth, humans are protected from solar particles as the planet’s atmosphere and magnetosphere ward them off. In outer space, they can cause radiation poisoning — which poses a threat to both spacecraft and astronauts.
With new information, scientists can devise better defenses to shield them.
Here are five new things we now know about the Sun that can help:
One of the only places in the solar system without dust
The Sun’s has way more outbursts than expected, threatening astronauts in space
Magnetic fields that do a complete 180
It’s not all smooth
The point where solar winds straighten out before reaching Earth
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