Sometimes in space, even when you’re millions of kilometers from anything, you’re still being watched. Or at least that’s the case for the Parker Solar Probe, which completed the 11th perihelion of its 24 perihelion journey on February 25th. While the probe was speeding past the Sun, it was being watched by over 40 space and ground-based telescopes.Continue reading “40 Telescopes Watched the Sun as the Parker Solar Probe Made its Most Recent Flyby”
Wow. Parker Solar Probe Took a Picture of the Surface of Venus
The Parker Solar Probe’s mission is to study the Sun. But the spacecraft’s instruments have nabbed some pretty impressive data on Venus, as it uses the planet for gravity assists in its ever-shrinking solar orbit.
Now, the spacecraft has captured visible light images of Venus’ surface, somehow able to peer through the shroud of clouds in the planet’s atmosphere.
This is complete bonus data that wasn’t ever expected.Continue reading “Wow. Parker Solar Probe Took a Picture of the Surface of Venus”
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Parker Solar Probe Flies Through the Sun’s Outer Atmosphere for the First Time
For the first time ever, a spacecraft has flown through the Sun’s outer atmosphere. The Parker Solar Probe passed through the out portion of the Sun’s corona in April of 2021, passing directly through streamers of solar plasma.
And by the way …. there’s video of what the spacecraft “saw.”Continue reading “Parker Solar Probe Flies Through the Sun’s Outer Atmosphere for the First Time”
Parker Solar Probe Hurtles Past the Sun, Making its Closest Approach so far
We’ve covered plenty of the Parker Solar Probe’s exploits here at UT, but it keeps breaking new records almost every month. Now, with its newest flyby, it has gotten closer to the Sun than ever before, breaking its own record from previous flybys.Continue reading “Parker Solar Probe Hurtles Past the Sun, Making its Closest Approach so far”
The Parker Solar Probe is getting pelted by hypervelocity dust. Could they damage spacecraft?
There’s a pretty significant disadvantage to going really fast – if you get hit with anything, even if it is small, it can hurt. So when the fastest artificial object ever – the Parker Solar Probe – gets hit by grains of dust that are a fraction the size of a human hair, they still do damage. The question is how much damage, and could we potentially learn anything from how exactly that damage happens? According to new research from scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB), the answer to the second question is yes, in fact, we can.Continue reading “The Parker Solar Probe is getting pelted by hypervelocity dust. Could they damage spacecraft?”
Here’s the First Image of the Sun from the Parker Solar Probe
It’s been 124 days since the Parker Solar Probe was launched, and several weeks since it made the closest approach any spacecraft has ever made to a star. Now, scientists are getting their hands on the data from the close approach. Four researchers at the recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. shared what they hope they can learn from the probe. They hope that data from the Parker Solar Probe will help them answer decades-old question about the Sun, its corona, and the solar wind.
Scientists who study the Sun have been anticipating this for a long time, and the waiting has been worth it.
“Heliophysicists have been waiting more than 60 years for a mission like this to be possible. The solar mysteries we want to solve are waiting in the corona.” – Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters.
Continue reading “Here’s the First Image of the Sun from the Parker Solar Probe”
Here are the First Pictures From the Parker Solar Probe. Wait… That’s Not the Sun
On August 12th, 2018, NASA launched the first spacecraft that will ever “touch” the face of the Sun. This was none other than the Parker Solar Probe, a mission that will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun, solar wind, and “space weather” events like solar flares. Whereas previous missions have observed the Sun, the Parker Solar Probe will provide the closest observations in history by entering the Sun’s atmosphere (aka. the corona).
And now, just over a month into the its mission, the Parker Solar Probe has captured and returned its first-light data. This data, which consisted of images of the Milky Way and Jupiter, was collected by the probe’s four instrument suites. While the images were not aimed at the Sun, the probe’s primary focus of study, they successfully demonstrated that the Parker probe’s instruments are in good working order.
Continue reading “Here are the First Pictures From the Parker Solar Probe. Wait… That’s Not the Sun”
The Sun is Actually One of the Most Difficult Places to Reach in the Solar System. Here’s how the Parker Solar Probe Will Do It
When it comes to exploring our Solar System, there are few missions more ambitious than those that seek to study the Sun. While NASA and other space agencies have been observing the Sun for decades, the majority of these missions were conducted in orbit around Earth. To date, the closest any mission has ever come to the Sun was with the Helios 1 and 2 probes, which studied the Sun during the 1970s from inside of Mercury’s orbit at perihelion.
NASA intends to change all that with the Parker Solar Probe, the space probe that recently launched from Cape Canaveral, which will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun by entering its atmosphere (aka. the corona). Over the next seven years, the probe will use Venus’ gravity to conduct a series of slingshots that will gradually bring it closer to the Sun than any mission in the history of spaceflight!Continue reading “The Sun is Actually One of the Most Difficult Places to Reach in the Solar System. Here’s how the Parker Solar Probe Will Do It”