In the skies since August 2018, Parker Solar Probe still has a lot of work to do until 2025, but in the meantime it has already gathered a considerable amount of data. Some of them were the basis of four scientific studies. published this Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Details recorded by the spacecraft just 24 million km from the Sun – or more precisely the Widefield Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) analysis instrument – showed for the first time signs of a dust-free zone around the Sun.
What WISPR sees is a very slight decrease in the light intensity profile reflected by the particles, "which indicates that there is no sudden disappearance of dust," said Russell Howard, lead author of one of the articles. published on Nature, in statements to El Mundo. Preliminary data show a decrease in the light intensity of the solar crown-F with what you see beyond this dark zone. ” explained the investigator.
These observations will help improve theories related to how dust passes from a solid particle to a gas. "The dust composition is unknown and it is unknown if there is more than one type of dust," he added. It is hoped that more details can be unveiled as Parker Solar Probe gets even closer to the Sun.
Another team of researchers analyzed the data collected by the spacecraft for what is called "slow solar winds", a movement that takes place in the sun's atmosphere, or crown.
There are currently several theories as to the origin of slow solar wind, but measurements by Stuart Bale's team "show very clearly that slow solar wind can come from small equatorial coronal holes," the researcher pointed out to the Spanish newspaper.
Another study based on data already collected by Parker Solar Probe, led by Justin Kasper, a researcher at the University of Michigan, focused on the measurement and modeling of magnetic fields that increase solar wind velocity and are described as curves in S-shape that form on the lines of the magnetic fields from the sun.
One of the main conclusions is that such magnetic waves produce speed peaks of up to 50km per second.