Related topics: magnetic field · nasa · spacecraft · sun · solar system

One year, two trips around sun for NASA's Parker Solar Probe

Since NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched on Aug. 12, 2018, Earth has made a single trip around the sun—while the daring solar explorer is well into its third orbit around our star. With two close passes by the sun already ...

NASA's MMS finds first interplanetary shock

The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission—MMS—has spent the past four years using high-resolution instruments to see what no other spacecraft can. Recently, MMS made the first high-resolution measurements of an interplanetary ...

A sphere of colour

This image shows a snippet of the Sun up close, revealing a golden surface marked by a number of dark, blotchy sunspots, curving filaments, and lighter patches known as 'plages' – brighter regions often found near sunspots. ...

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Solar wind

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun's gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well-understood.

The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. Other phenomena include geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the sun.

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