NASA achieves world's first observation from within a Sun burp

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft designed to monitor the Sun, has captured the first observation of inside a coronal mass ejection.

2 minutes & 10 seconds read time

The Sun goes through an 11-year cycle that ranges from extreme activity to very minimal activity, and when our host star is at the height of its activity, astronomers detect numerous solar flares, plasma ejections, and tumultuous conditions.

NASA sent its Parker Solar Probe to orbit the Sun and monitor our star's ever-changing conditions with the goal of researchers learning more about its constitution and evolution. With that knowledge, scientists can more accurately predict potentially dangerous space weather caused by the Sun. Now, the Parker Solar Probe has made some ground-breaking observations while passing through a Coronal Magnetic Ejection (CME), a wave of charged particles ejected from the Sun, similar to a burp.

According to reports, the Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) instrument has captured turbulent eddies, which are what physicists call Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities (KHI). These events occur when one patch of fast-moving fluid interacts with another. This phenomenon has been detected in clouds when the wind speed at one end of the cloud is different from the other end. However, it has never been observed within a solar eruption but was theorized by solar physicists for quite some time.

NASA achieves world's first observation from within a Sun burp 63661

"The turbulence that gives rise to KHI plays a fundamental role in regulating the dynamics of CMEs flowing through the ambient solar wind," said Evangelos Paouris, a solar physicist at George Mason University, in a statement. "Hence, understanding turbulence is key in achieving a deeper understanding of CME evolution and kinematics."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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