About two years ago, NASA launched towards the Sun space probe Parker, who finally reached the closest to our star distance and gave the first results of his observations of the sun. It turned out that the strange behavior of the magnetic field of the Sun, including its ultra-fast u-turns, lasting only a few seconds, certainly does not end there. What is our seemingly well-studied star might surprise us?
Why the Sun’s corona hotter than its surface?
As the portal newsweek.comthe first results of the mission were published in four scientific articles of the journal Nature. Despite the fact that the Sun is a key factor for the existence of life on Earth, there are enormous gaps in our understanding of many phenomena occurring in its vicinity. It is known that the corona — the outermost part of the atmosphere much hotter the surface of the Sun, reaching about a million degrees Celsius, compared to 5500 degrees. The reason for this phenomenon, scientists still unknown. However, our star also produces the so-called solar wind, which constantly bombards the Earth’s magnetic field. However, exactly how and why it occurs?
See also: will the Sun one day become a black hole?
In order to help professionals to understand such difficult matters, was designed probe Parker, who approached the Sun closer than any other man-made object in the history of mankind. During its last three flights scheduled for 2024 and 2025, it will reach the Sun’s surface at a distance of 6 million kilometers. At present, the solar probe is rotating at the approximate distance of about 24 million kilometres from our star at its closest point from the sun.
First study the space probe was aimed at studying the solar corona and its magnetic fields. It is known that the corona produces the solar wind electrons, which are accelerated significantly, leaving the scene of his appearance.
With the help of new observations, the team found that while “fast” solar wind, whose speed can reach 900 kilometers per second, comes from large holes in the crown on the North and South poles of the Sun, the slow solar wind comes from the smaller holes in the part of the crown, which is located near the equator. It is known that the fastest of was solar winds moving at a speed of 1.8 million kilometers per hour.
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A group of researchers from NASA have also shown that the solar wind is rotating around the Sun from 10 to 20 times faster than predicted by the standard model. Such impressive speed can be associated with sudden changes in the magnetic field of the star. The researchers found that the magnetic field can be traced to coronal holes, sometimes suddenly turning on as much as 180 degrees in just a few seconds.
Currently solar probe Parker continues to revolve around our star, becoming a little closer with each circle. Activity on the Sun increases and decreases during the 11-year cycle, which is currently in a “solar minimum,” characterized by fewer sunspots than usual. In the next few years solar activity will increase until it reaches the so-called “solar maximum”, which will happen by the end of the mission the probe Parker in 2024.