NASA's Parker Solar Probe becomes the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun's atmosphere

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,033   +150
Staff member
Recap: The Parker Solar Probe launched on August 12, 2018. The first NASA craft to be named after a living person, it wasted little time in getting down to business. Less than three months after launch, it came closer to the Sun than any other artificial object. Now, it has achieved another milestone.

As NASA notes, the Sun is different from Earth in that it doesn’t have a solid surface. Instead, there’s a superheated atmosphere where solar material is tied to the Sun by magnetic forces and gravity. Heat and pressure act on these materials, forcing them away from the center of the Sun. As they get further away, magnetic fields and gravity lose their grip, marking the end of the solar atmosphere and the beginning of the solar wind – a region astronomers refer to as the Alfvén critical surface.

Until recently, astronomers only had a rough estimate of where exactly the Alfvén critical surface lay that was based on images and data captured from afar.

During its eighth flyby of the Sun on April 28, 2021, readings from the Parker Solar Probe confirmed to scientists that it had indeed crossed the Alfvén critical surface at around 8.1 million miles from the surface of the star and entered the solar atmosphere for the first time. In fact, data showed the probe had passed into and out of the corona several times during the pass, confirming that the surface line isn’t smooth but rather, has peaks and valleys

Scientists look forward to learning even more about the Sun during future flybys, the next of which is scheduled for January 2022. At its closest, the probe is expected to fly within 3.83 million miles of the Sun’s surface.

Image credit Steve Gribben

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yRaz

Posts: 4,330   +4,965
Please, stop writing science articles. You have no idea what you're talking about. Your explanation of the Sun's "atmosphere" is so incorrect that I don't even know how to start correcting it.

And give you're readers some credit, I'm sure we all know what plasma is and know the sun doesn't have a physical surface.

I'll also throw you a bone, it's PARTICALS not MATERIALS. There are no materials in the sun, it's a soup of Alpha and Beta particles and electrons to keep it simple. They say the sun fuses hydrogen but at those temperatures the atoms can't hold onto their electrons.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,659   +7,560
Please, stop writing science articles. You have no idea what you're talking about. Your explanation of the Sun's "atmosphere" is so incorrect that I don't even know how to start correcting it.

And give you're readers some credit, I'm sure we all know what plasma is and know the sun doesn't have a physical surface.

I'll also throw you a bone, it's PARTICALS not MATERIALS. There are no materials in the sun, it's a soup of Alpha and Beta particles and electrons to keep it simple. They say the sun fuses hydrogen but at those temperatures the atoms can't hold onto their electrons.

Dang ..... beat me to every point I was going to make ............ LOL
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,472   +6,252
Please, stop writing science articles. You have no idea what you're talking about. Your explanation of the Sun's "atmosphere" is so incorrect that I don't even know how to start correcting it.

And give you're readers some credit, I'm sure we all know what plasma is and know the sun doesn't have a physical surface.

I'll also throw you a bone, it's PARTICALS not MATERIALS. There are no materials in the sun, it's a soup of Alpha and Beta particles and electrons to keep it simple. They say the sun fuses hydrogen but at those temperatures the atoms can't hold onto their electrons.
Dang ..... beat me to every point I was going to make ............ LOL
:rolleyes: I guess we have to correct scientists, then, too! :scream:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/solar-atmosphere
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,472   +6,252
I appreciate you citing a source, that almost never happens, But what exactly are you correcting in my comment and what are you specifically citing in that article to correct it with?

You can't just post a source without context
Well, you did not post a source at all. Shawn was citing what NASA's article says - https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddar...e-for-the-first-time-bringing-new-discoveries It was not difficult to find the article. So, take issue with what NASA says.

We all know how much you hate Shawn's articles - so why read them? Maybe more people would take you seriously if you posted sources yourself, and spelled Particles correctly.

And look up the definition of material https://www.dictionary.com/browse/material

Pardon me if you don't like what I said.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,330   +4,965
Well, you did not post a source at all. Shawn was citing what NASA's article says - https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddar...e-for-the-first-time-bringing-new-discoveries It was not difficult to find the article. So, take issue with what NASA says.

We all know how much you hate Shawn's articles - so why read them? Maybe more people would take you seriously if you posted sources yourself, and spelled Particles correctly.

And look up the definition of material https://www.dictionary.com/browse/material

Pardon me if you don't like what I said.
The NASA article was written in a way for people on Facebook to understand. I also don't understand why they insist on calling the Sun's Corona it's Atmosphere. The sun does have an "Atmosphere" but such a large part of it is taken up by the Corona that the other part is rarely talked about. If you really wish for me to write a better article with sources cited, I will. I write most of my posts from my phone when I'm trying to kill time if you're wondering about my frequent type-o's.

To answer your question about why read them? I often don't realize I'm reading a Shawn article until I'm a few sentences in. At that point I'm curious to see what he got right and what he got wrong. I like to assume that many of us on this website are educated, hence our interest in technology. The middle school level of his writing on science content is frustrating because I'm actually quite into Cosmology and am even a member of the Astronomical Association of Pittsburgh.

The term "solar material", which he didn't even understand enough to quote properly, is silly and new to me. It also doesn't really make sense. Using the definition of material, solar material means "matter made up of the sun" which doesn't make sense at all. We've had terms for the Sun's "atmosphere" and "solar material" for several decades. What is wrong with the Sun's Corona? What is wrong with Solar Wind?

Someone writing about science should know these terms and when to use them, not fail to paraphrase an article barely suitable for Facebook.

But above all, I find it frustrating that Techspot would allow such poorly written articles on their website considering the high quality of their other content. His articles are poorly written enough as it is, why let him poorly write articles that are factually incorrect or inaccurate? It reflects poorly on the other editors on Techspot.

I criticize his articles not because I enjoy it but because I want to see it fixed.
 

Danny101

Posts: 2,026   +838
Please, stop writing science articles. You have no idea what you're talking about. Your explanation of the Sun's "atmosphere" is so incorrect that I don't even know how to start correcting it.

And give you're readers some credit, I'm sure we all know what plasma is and know the sun doesn't have a physical surface.

I'll also throw you a bone, it's PARTICALS not MATERIALS. There are no materials in the sun, it's a soup of Alpha and Beta particles and electrons to keep it simple. They say the sun fuses hydrogen but at those temperatures the atoms can't hold onto their electrons.
It's coming out that the sun is more electrical than nuclear. Giant bulb in the sky. Tesla's atmospheric phenomenon.