Two Space Probes Will Look Into The Sun Closer Than Ever
NASA and the Europen Space Agency (ESA) will launch two vehicles – Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter to study the sun at the closest distance than any other space vehicle before it. This study will permit a better comprehension of the way in which the earth deals with the sun´s radiation, however, it will also help understand the way in which the sun´s energy triggers space weather events. The main objective of this project is to better understand the sun´s processes and how it affects space and our planet, including space technology, so as to predict future sun activity.
Parker Solar Probe
This space vehicle, which is scheduled to be launched this year, will fly within 6,400,000 km (4 million miles) – the closest a space vehicle has ever flown – at almost 720000 km/h (45000 miles/h), from the sun´s corona.
The data this spacecraft will collect will offer new information about how the sun and earth are connected. It´s believed that the mission will help open new theories of the way in which the sun´s corona gets hotter than the surface of the sun and the great speed at which the solar wind leaves our star. The imaging instruments will take shots of the sun from varied angles, including the poles and the equator.
Scheduled to be launched in 2020, this vehicle will study the sun from within 42 million km (26 million miles) from its surface. In a circular orbit around the sun, this orbiter will fly in and out of the ecliptic plane to capture the first ever images of the sun´s poles. The orbiter´s first view of the poles may lead to a deeper understanding of the processes that originate from the sun´s magnetic field. This spacecraft will reach its scheduled orbit three years after launch with the assistance of gravitational man-oeuvres from Venus and Earth.
Both of these missions will take a closer examination at the sun´s corona, which is not predictable, as its activity is not really understood. Information gathered from previous missions have provided clues that lead to thinking that the sun’s corona may contribute to the processes that make the solar wind acquire great cosmic speeds. The probe will capture the solar wind as it is ejected from the corona, obtaining accurate measurements of it. The program´s main goals include new insights into the way in which the solar system works, the origins of the universe, the processes that drive the sun´s activity and its impact on our planet.
Scientists Discover a New Type of Magnetic Event
By Deborah Byrd in EARTH | SPACE | May 16, 2018
Space scientists recently uncovered a new type of magnetic event in the near-Earth environment. The new event happens just outside the outer boundary of Earth’s magnetosphere – the sphere around Earth within which our world’s magnetic field is the dominant field – in a region called the magnetosheath. Scientists using an innovative technique to squeeze extra information out of existing data learned that a process known as magnetic reconnection takes place in the magnetosheath. They reported their new discovery in a study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature on May 9, 2018.
Before you shake your head and move on, consider this. Consider the famous Halloween Storms of the year 2003. They weren’t ordinary rain storms, but geomagnetic storms high in Earth’s atmosphere, triggered by massive solar flares erupting on the sun, which had sent X-rays zooming through our solar system. Along with the flares, the sun expelled giant clouds of solar material, called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The CMEs slammed into Earth’s magnetic field and pushed material and energy in toward Earth, creating the Halloween Storms, which caused brilliant auroras that could be seen as far south as Texas. NASA also said the 2003 solar storms:
… interfered with GPS signals and radio communications, and caused the Federal Aviation Administration to issue their first-ever warning to airlines to avoid excess radiation by flying at low altitudes.
Every step leading to these intense storms – the flare, the CME, the transfer of energy from the CME to Earth’s magnetosphere – was ultimately driven by the catalyst of magnetic reconnection.
Read More: New Magnetic Event
Parker Solar Probe Ready for the Sun
The Parker Solar Probe will explore the surface of the Sun like never before. A team of scientists have been putting the spacecraft through its paces by blasting it with the heat from old IMAX cinema projectors.
The Parker Solar Probe – a new spacecraft that will get up close and personal with the Sun – has passed its final test and is ready to make the journey to our host star.
Scientists at the University of Michigan have been testing the endurance of one of its key pieces of equipment using an unusual method: blasting it with the heat and light of old IMAX projectors.
The Parker Solar Probe is a $1.5 billion NASA mission due to launch in summer 2018. Part of the mission will be to examine the powerful outbursts that occur on the surface of the Sun.
Read more about the Sun from BBC Sky at Night Magazine:
The Sun is a dynamic body, and outbursts of plasma known as coronal mass ejections can sometimes interfere with satellite electronics, GPS and radio communications on Earth.
Part of the Parker Solar Probe mission will be to gain a better understanding of these processes, enabling scientists on Earth to anticipate potential disruptions.
Read more: Parker Solar Probe
Fly Me to the Sun
Why more than 1 million people put their names on a mission to our nearest star
This summer, a nasa spacecraft will launch into space from the coast of Florida, headed for the sun. After making several flybys of Venus to slow itself down, the Parker Solar Probe will come within 4 million miles of the sun’s scorching surface, closer than any spacecraft in history.
Nasa is never one to miss an opportunity to drum up publicity for upcoming space missions, especially the less flashy ones. Sending something to study the star we see every day may sound less thrilling, for example, than launching a mission to find exoplanets around 200,000 stars. So in March, the space agency announced a little campaign to promote the Parker Solar Probe: Send us your names and we’ll put them on a microchip inside a spacecraft bound for the sun. (They even got Star Trek actor William Shatner to help promote it.)
The call for names, which closed at the end of last week, received more than 1.1 million submissions, according to a spokesperson at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which designed and built the Parker Solar Probe. On the surface, the campaign was little more than a quirky act to get the public interested in space exploration. But considered more deeply, it represents the human desire to find ways to outlive ourselves and our bodies, to be remembered once our time here on Earth is up.
Read More: Fly Me To The Sun
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