The Sun is the source of life on Earth, but other than scientific theories just a little is known about it. The extreme heat and radiation fairly make it impossible. But Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe is trying to achieve this impossible as it flew the Sun for the second time yesterday (April 4) at 10:40pm GMT.
Parker performed a similar manoeuvre — the one performed during the first flyby — called the “Perihelion”, which allowed Parker to reach as close as 24 million kilometres of the Sun’s surface. During this flyby, Parker got exposed to extreme cosmic radiation — as high as 400 to 500 times higher than Earth — and experienced temperatures as high as 1300ºC.
Comparing the present flyby to the previous one (5 November, 2018)
- The distance between the Sun’s surface and the Probe was somewhat same.
- The speed of the probe was 343,000 kmph, also same.
- The probe transmitted 17 gigs of data, data collection of this flyby is yet to be revealed.
As of now, parameters between both flybys seem to be similar, but they are about to change as in the future — which involves 22 flybys, the probe will pass as close as 4 million miles above the Sun’s surface — breaking all known records. Also, the probe’s speed is about to get faster in the future.
The information collected by Parker is mostly related to the Sun’s Corona — the plasma that surrounds the star. The corona is though to be at least 300-400ºC hotter than the surface and scientists want to known all about it.
Also, there is another mystery that needs to be answered, the solar flares — charged deadly particles that travel at nearly half the speed of light, these particles are often responsible for the destruction of satellite and other space electronics and disrupting navigation.
Earth with its atmosphere and strong magnetic field protects life on the surface from getting fried by these deadly particles — producing Northern and Southern lights at the poles.
During the flybys, the probe is disconnected from Earth, as scientists designed it to protect its fragile electronic and radio instruments from the extremes of the Star — hid inside a 8 foot thick Frisbee Sunscreen, maintaining 29ºC inside. These times are pretty desperate for everyone involved in the mission.
Next flyby occurs on September 1, be ready.