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Solar Orbiter Spacecraft Discovers Tiny Jets That Could Power the Solar Wind

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: Hindustan Times


Context: The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has identified numerous small jets of material emanating from the Sun’s outer atmosphere, lasting for 20 to 100 seconds and expelling plasma at speeds around 100 km/s.

  • These jets, detected by Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) instrument, could potentially be the source of the solar wind.
  • Composed of charged particles (called picoflare jets), the solar wind continuously escapes the Sun and affects space dynamics.


These observations shed light on how and where the solar wind is generated, a longstanding challenge in solar research. The jets are associated with plasma ejections from the solar atmosphere, and their discovery suggests that the solar wind may originate from intermittent, highly energetic outflows rather than just a steady flow.