About two years ago, NASA launchedtowards the Sun, the Parker space probe, which finally reached the distance closest to our star and transmitted the first results of its observations of the luminary. It turned out that the strangeness in the behavior of the magnetic field of the Sun, including its ultrafast turns, lasting only a few seconds, does not end there. How can our seemingly well-studied star surprise us?
Why is the corona of the sun hotter than its surface?
According to the portal newsweek.com, the first results of the mission were published in four scientific articles of the journal Nature. Despite the fact that the Sun is a key factor in the existence of life on Earth, there are huge gaps in our understanding of the whole multitude of phenomena occurring in its vicinity. So, it is known that the corona - the outermost part of the atmosphere - is much hotter than the surface of the Sun, reaching about a million degrees Celsius compared to 5500 degrees. The reason for this phenomenon is still unknown to scientists. At the same time, our star also produces the so-called solar wind, which constantly bombards the Earth's magnetic field. However, how exactly and why does it arise?
See also: Can the Sun one day turn into a black hole?
In order to help professionals understandsuch difficult issues, the Parker probe was designed, which came closer to the Sun than any other artificial object in the history of mankind. During his last three flights, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, he will approach the surface of the Sun at a distance of 6 million kilometers. Currently, the solar probe rotates at an approximate distance of about 24 million kilometers from our star at its closest point from the star.
The first space probe studies wereaimed at studying the solar corona and its magnetic fields. It is known that it is the corona that produces the electrons of the solar wind, which accelerate noticeably, leaving the place of its appearance.
Through new observations, the team discoveredthat while the “fast” solar wind, whose speed can reach 900 kilometers per second, comes from large holes in the corona at the North and South poles of the Sun, the “slow” solar wind comes from smaller holes in the part of the corona that is located near equator. It is known that the fastest recorded solar winds moved at a speed of 1.8 million kilometers per hour.
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A team from NASA has also proven thatthe solar wind revolves around the Sun 10 to 20 times faster than standard models predicted. Such impressive speeds can be associated with unexpected changes in the magnetic field of a star. Researchers have discovered that magnetic fields can be traced down to coronal holes, sometimes suddenly turning as much as 180 degrees in just a few seconds.
Current Parker solar probekeeps spinning around our star, getting a little closer with each circle. Activity on the Sun increases and decreases during the 11-year cycle, which is currently in the "solar minimum", characterized by fewer sunspots than usual. In the coming years, the activity of the Sun will increase until it reaches the so-called "solar maximum", which will occur at the end of the mission of the Parker probe in 2024.