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Parker Solar Probe:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

For the first time in history, we can see the planet Venus in Color, thanks to NASA Parker Solar Probe.

  • The Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) by the American space agency has managed to take pictures of the surface of Venus revealing stunning continents, plains, plateaus and even a layer of Oxygen.

 

First spacecraft to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun:

Recently, the Parker Solar Probe, became the first spacecraft to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun- ‘Corona’.

  • The spacecraft flew through Corona and sampled magnetic fields and particles there.

 

Significance:

The achievement would help scientists discover critical information about the sun and its influence on our solar system.

 

Current Affairs

 

About the mission:

Launched in 2018, Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.

 

Journey:

  • In order to unlock the mysteries of the sun’s atmosphere, Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
  • The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

 

Parker Solar Probe has three detailed science objectives:

  1. Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
  2. Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
  3. Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

 

Why study corona?

The corona is hotter than the surface of the sun. The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system. Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on Earth. Nasa hopes the findings will enable scientists to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment.

 

Insta Curious:

What is Magnetic Reconnection with respect to the sun’s surface? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Solar Parker Probe.
  2. What are Solar Flares?
  3. Sun’s Corona.
  4. Earth vs Venus.
  5. What are radio waves?

Mains Link:

Discuss how Solar Flares influence earth’s environment.

Sources: the Hindu.