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NASA finally learned the power of the shockwave of the solar wind

Our sun is extremely interestingspace object. The reactions taking place in the bowels of the stars cause the appearance of a huge number of phenomena. From the release of energy in the form of heat and light to the notorious solar radiation. However, by observing the Sun, scientists were able to detect another interesting phenomenon. Namely, the solar wind. It was discovered long ago and its properties are even very successfully used to launch small spacecraft outside the solar system. However, only recently managed to find out the impact force of the solar wind.

What is a solar wind

The solar wind is a stream of ionized particleshelium-hydrogen plasma formed as a result of thermonuclear reactions in the sun. These particles are "ejected" by the sun and spread throughout the solar system. At the same time, many cosmic phenomena are associated with the solar wind, including magnetic storms and auroras. Have you ever watched the aurora? Tell us about it in our chat in Telegram.

But back to the solar winds. They are of two types: fast (up to 1200 kilometers per second) and slow (about 300 kilometers per second). So, when a fast solar wind overtakes a slow one, a rather powerful shock wave occurs, propagating throughout the solar system. And until recently, it was not possible to fix the power of this wave. But scientists from NASA managed to do this thanks to a special way located by a cluster of satellites.

How to measure the power of the solar wind shock wave

On the "route" of the shock wave was4 magnetospheric multiscale satellites. Each of the satellites was located at a distance of 20 kilometers from the neighboring one, forming a straight line along the propagation of the shock wave. This distance was enough so that the instruments located on the spacecraft could fix the speed of particles.

Spacecraft received unprecedentedaccurate particle motion data. In particular, sensitive sensors mounted on board the satellites were able to measure the position of particles in space with a frequency of 0.3 milliseconds. This turned out to be enough to, knowing the time and distance that the particle passed beyond it, calculate its speed. - The researchers write in their article, published in the journal Geophysical Research.

In this case, during the measurement, twobunch of ions: the first came from a slow shock wave of the solar wind, and the second from a collision of ions of a fast solar wind and a slow one. Scientists say that the fact that they managed to fix precisely the “meeting” of the fast and slow solar winds is a great success and this will help to learn much more about the nature of the solar wind.

This is interesting: American scientists built the "Sun" in the laboratory.

NASA experts say the datacan be used to predict the response of living organisms on Earth to the solar wind, as well as to develop more resistant to solar wind electrical appliances and generally improve the structure of the lining of spacecraft.