Sun’s mysteries solved, at least a few
The US space agency NASA’s Parker Solar Probe — which has flown closer to the Sun than any spacecraft ever — has beamed back the first observations from its close encounter with the Sun. The data gives a lot of information on the solar wind and space weather.
The data from the probe offers clues to long-standing mysteries, including why the Sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona, is hundreds of times hotter than its surface, as well as the precise origins of the solar wind.
Parker Solar Probe, which was launched in August 2018, has completed three of the 24 planned passes through never-before-explored parts of the Sun’s atmosphere.
These findings reveal new information about the behaviour of the material and particles that speed away from the Sun.
NASA said the findings will also help understand the process by which stars are created and evolve.
One of the main goals of the Parker Solar Probe is to discover the source of the ‘slow’ solar wind and how it is accelerated in the hot atmosphere of the Sun — the 1 million-degree Celsius solar corona.
The solar wind consists of charged particles, mostly protons and helium nuclei, travelling along the Sun’s magnetic field lines.
Over one million Earth’s could fit inside the Sun. If you were to fill a hollow Sun with spherical Earths, somewhere around 9,60,000 would fit inside. However, if you squashed those Earths to ensure there was no wasted space then you could fit13,00000 Earths inside the Sun. The surface area of the Sun is 11,990 times that of Earth.