University of Michigan | 2019 Jun 04
Probe will go where no spacecraft has gone and measure a process never directly observed before.
It’s one of the greatest and longest-running mysteries surrounding, quite literally, our sun—why is its outer atmosphere hotter than its fiery surface?Solving the Sun's Burning Mystery
University of Michigan College of Engineering
University of Michigan researchers believe they have the answer, and hope to prove it with help from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. In roughly two years, the probe will be the first manmade craft to enter the zone surrounding the sun where heating looks fundamentally different than what has previously been seen in space. This will allow them to test their theory that the heating is due to small magnetic waves travelling back and forth within the zone.
Solving the riddle would allow scientists to better understand and predict solar weather, which can pose serious threats to Earth’s power grid. And step one is determining where the heating of the sun’s outer atmosphere begins and ends—a puzzle with no shortage of theories.
Once within this zone, Parker Solar Probe will help determine what is causing the heating by directly measuring the magnetic fields and particles there. ...
Strong Preferential Ion Heating is Limited to within the Solar Alfvén Surface ~ Justin C. Kasper, Kristopher G. Klein
- Astrophysical Journal Letters 877(2):L35 (2019 Jun 01) DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab1de5