NASA’s Parker solar probe, launched in 2018, aims to study the solar corona, the outer part of the Sun’s atmosphere. After a gravitational assistance operation around Venus, it broke new records this Sunday during its tenth orbit, reaching a speed of 163 kilometers per second (586,800 km / h), at a distance of about 8, 5 million kilometers from the Sun.

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[EN VIDÉO] What is the temperature of the sun?
The sun is a huge ball of hot gas that produces energy and radiates. The photosphere is already close to 6000 ° C, but in the heart of the sun, it climbs to 15 million degrees.

The solar corona has a temperature reaching a million degrees (more than one hundred times the temperature at the surface of the Soleil). She is at the origin of solar wind (flux d’ions and D’electrons which bombards the planets of our star system) and the mechanisms behind these phenomena are still poorly understood.

The main objective of the Parker solar probe is to determine the processes that cause the solar corona to heat up and the acceleration of energetic particles. Throughout its measurements, it will circulate on a orbit elliptical whose perihelion (point closest to the center of the orbit) is near the Sun, and theaphelia (point furthest from the center of the orbit) at the orbit of Venus. The gravitational effect of the latter will be used to gradually reduce the perihelion and allow the probe to come closer and closer of the Sun.

An astonishing and unexpected discovery

While the probe accelerates towards the Sun, the instruments on board made it possible to make an unexpected discovery: according to Nour Raouafi, researcher participating in the Parker Solar Probe project, “ we observe higher amounts of dust than expected near the Sun ».

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The probe is not initially designed to detect grains of dust, but the impacts they generate along the trajectory of the probe form clouds plasma that produce electrical discharges captured by l’instrument Fields of the probe, initially intended to measure the electric and magnetic fields of the Sun. These impacts highlight light the presence of a cloud of dust which swirls in the innermost region of the Solar system, still very poorly explored.

After two more flyovers from Venus, in 2023 and 2024, the Parker probe will reach a distance of only 6.2 million kilometers from the Sun, at a speed close to 700,000 km / h.

Unheard of: Futura launches its very first paper magazine ! A 200-page review, 4 files on Science that will mark 2022.

For this adventure to succeed, Futura needs you.
Meeting on Ulule to support the project and participate in its launch.
More than ever, let’s make Science accessible to as many people as possible. #LeMagFutura
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