The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.

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allynh
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The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.

Unread post by allynh » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:09 pm

This continues the older thread from:

The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.
http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpB ... 05#p129651

This will be an interesting probe to watch over its lifespan.

Europe’s Solar Orbiter Begins Its Journey to the Sun
https://www.wired.com/story/europes-sol ... o-the-sun/
ESA's orbiter will work with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to unveil the mysteries of our home star and the origin of violent storms that spew plasma across space.

Daniel Oberhaus02.07.2020 08:00 AM

Solar orbiter spacecraft stripped of contained. two guys stand on beam next to it

About half the size of an average parking space, the Solar Orbiter’s heat shield is a mix of modern and ancient technology.Photograph: NASA

Just before midnight on Sunday, a spacecraft will depart from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to the sun. Known as Solar Orbiter, this spacecraft will spend the next seven years dipping in and out of the extremely inhospitable environment around the sun. In the process, it will provide us with our first glimpse of the sun’s poles, which will be critical to understanding its topsy-turvy magnetic field. It will also help uncover the origin of violent solar storms that send plasma hurtling toward Earth, where it can knock out satellites and disrupt our power grids.

The Solar Orbiter mission is spearheaded by the European Space Agency and has been almost two decades in the making. It complements NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, which will pass closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history. Only a year into its mission, Parker is providing scientists with four times more data about the solar environment than expected, says Nour Raouafi, a heliophysicist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Parker project scientist. “We are venturing into regions of space that we never explored before,” says Raouafi. “Every observation is a potential discovery.”

Solar Orbiter will augment Parker’s vast trove of data with an array of 10 instruments, which include six that can directly image the sun. This is a luxury unavailable to Parker, which passes too close to the sun to directly image it without instantly frying a camera’s sensors. But Parker and Solar Orbiter are both equipped with suites of instruments to study the environment around the sun, such as its magnetic field, its plasma ejections, and the irregular bursts of high-energy particles from the sun’s atmosphere, or corona.

Compared to Parker, Solar Orbiter will be keeping its distance from the sun, never venturing closer than about 26 million miles. This is just inside Mercury’s orbit, a hellish region of the solar system where the spacecraft will experience temperatures above 900 degrees Fahrenheit while being assaulted by high-energy particles belched out by the sun.

Solar Orbiter’s radiation-hardened instruments will be protected from the sweltering heat by a shield covered with doors that periodically open to allow the spacecraft’s instruments to image the sun. About half the size of an average parking space, the Solar Orbiter’s heat shield is a mix of modern and ancient technology. Its outermost layer is a strip of titanium just a fraction of a millimeter thick and coated on the sun-facing side with charred animal bone. This is the same stuff used by prehistoric humans to paint cave walls, but its properties also make it great for radiating heat away from a spacecraft.

Daniel Verscharen, an instrument scientist for Solar Orbiter, says he is particularly interested in what the craft will reveal about the solar wind, the plasma that is continuously flowing away from the sun’s corona. The particles in this plasma can reach speeds of more than 1 million miles an hour, but scientists aren’t sure how the solar atmosphere accelerates them to these high speeds. Solar wind is a constant aspect of space weather, somewhat like the air temperature on Earth. Sometimes the solar wind is strong, sometimes it’s weak, but it’s always there in the background.

And just like the Earth hosts the occasional extreme weather event, so does the sun. Known as coronal mass ejections, these solar storms can dump more than a billion tons of plasma into space at speeds that make the solar wind seem slow. This wave of sun stuff carries its own magnetic field along with it—and if it happens to pass over the Earth, the effect is like a mallet hitting a gong. When the plasma wave reaches Earth, it ripples across our own magnetic field in what is known as a geomagnetic storm.

Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere defuse the high-energy solar particles and protect us all from getting cancer every time the sun spits plasma. And as the current produced by the colliding magnetic fields moves through the atmosphere, it creates stunning auroras whose blue-green light shimmers across Earth’s poles. If the coronal mass ejection is powerful enough, it can produce electric currents on the ground that overwhelm the power grid. Geomagnetic storms can also wreak havoc on Earth’s GPS satellites by heating up the atmosphere, which produces drag and causes the satellites to move out of their programmed orbits.

While coronal mass ejections can cause plenty of problems on Earth, they’re also of great concern to space agencies hoping to send astronauts to the moon or Mars, where they won’t be protected by a strong magnetic field. Being hit by one of the sun’s plasma waves could expose them to radiation levels equivalent to getting 300,000 chest x-rays at once—well over the lethal radiation dose.

“We hope that all this information we get from the sun will help us understand the effects of the its activity on the Earth and allow us to protect ourselves a bit better from what are currently quite unpredictable events,” says Jayne Lefort, Solar Orbiter science operations lead at the European Space Agency.

The sun has been an object of mystery and awe throughout human history, but with the launch of Solar Orbiter, we’ll come a little closer to understanding it.
This is the home page for the Solar Orbiter
https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration ... ar_Orbiter

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paladin17
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Re: The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.

Unread post by paladin17 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:30 pm

Some 47 papers have been released a few days ago (and more coming):
https://iopscience.iop.org/issue/0067-0049/246/2

From my initial glance at the results, I might hypothesize that the "switchbacks" they're talking about (rapid reversals of magnetic field polarity, coinciding with about 50% radial velocity increase) are simply current sheets. This would make total sense - otherwise the magnetic field reversal would seem impossible.
Double layers may be another possibility, as they can also disrupt the magnetic field lines - but then it is not clear still, why the same region on the Sun would have opposite magnetic polarities mixed together. It seems currents sheets is a better option.

Michael Mozina
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Re: The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.

Unread post by Michael Mozina » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:18 pm

paladin17 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:30 pm
Some 47 papers have been released a few days ago (and more coming):
https://iopscience.iop.org/issue/0067-0049/246/2

From my initial glance at the results, I might hypothesize that the "switchbacks" they're talking about (rapid reversals of magnetic field polarity, coinciding with about 50% radial velocity increase) are simply current sheets. This would make total sense - otherwise the magnetic field reversal would seem impossible.
Double layers may be another possibility, as they can also disrupt the magnetic field lines - but then it is not clear still, why the same region on the Sun would have opposite magnetic polarities mixed together. It seems currents sheets is a better option.
I've only started skimming though the new PSP material, but thus far it's pretty clear that their reliance upon "magnetic magic' is getting weirder by the day. There is no such thing as a "magnetic switchback" without current. In fact there is no such thing as magnetic fields in plasma at all without current. Unfortunately it seems like the one thing which they absolutely *refuse* to discuss is current and particularly the electric fields that sustain that currernt. :( I suppose the discussion of "current sheets" is a good start, but alas until the discuss the electric fields that sustain them, it's only a half step in the right direction.

One wonders if the European version of the Parker Solar probe (SOLo) might help move things along by creating a "competition" of sorts to see who's willing to first come out of the closet in terms of discussing currents and electric fields.

Thanks for the link by the way.

allynh
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Re: The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.

Unread post by allynh » Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:06 pm

We Booped the Sun
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... be/621275/
For such a familiar celestial body, the sun is still very mysterious—but we’re getting closer to it than ever before.

By Marina KorenJanuary 17, 2022, 7 AM ET
https://cdn.theatlantic.com/thumbor/PQK ... iginal.png
Three images of the sun in red, yellow, and blue—the products of observing our star in three different wavelengths
The sun, in three different wavelengths (NASA / SDO; The Atlantic)
Kelly Korreck is still thinking about the time her spacecraft flew into the sun, how one moment, the probe was rushing through a stormy current of fast-moving particles, and the next, it was plunging somewhere quieter, where the plasma rolled like ocean waves. No machine had ever crossed that mysterious boundary before. But Korreck and her team had dispatched a mission for that exact purpose, and their plan worked. For the first time in history, a spacecraft had entered the sun’s atmosphere.

“This is a totally cool place to go—well, I guess, hot place to go,” Korreck, a solar physicist at NASA, told me. “We’ve touched plasma and gas that actually belongs to the sun.”

The NASA probe, named Parker, made the historic dive in April of last year, but scientists waited until last month to announce the news, after they’d analyzed the data and made sure that the spacecraft had indeed crossed into the top layer of the sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona. NASA then declared that Parker had “touched the sun,” basking in a bit of poetic license. The spacecraft can’t reach down to the photosphere, the layer that radiates light, what’s commonly understood to be the “surface” of the sun. But even that isn’t a distinct, solid surface like the ground on Earth, hence the quotation marks. So touch, shmuch: Parker certainly has, to use a less scientific term, booped the sun.

The Parker spacecraft left Earth in 2018, and is traveling on a long loop around our star, making periodic visits. The spacecraft, built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, is designed to withstand the extremes of flying so close to our wonderful, scorching ball of nuclear fusion and dipping into its atmosphere, for a few hours, at least, to swim through sizzling matter. Getting there at all took a bit of work too. Reaching the sun is, remarkably, more difficult than reaching the outer planets, or leaving the solar system altogether. Earth travels around the sun at great speeds. A spacecraft bound for Jupiter, for example, can use that momentum to fly faster. But a spacecraft bound for the center of the solar system would need to slow itself down instead, so that its orbit shrinks instead of widens, and it can start moving closer to the sun. Existing rocket technology can’t achieve this effect, so engineers must take Parker past Venus seven times throughout the mission, so that the spacecraft can use that planet’s gravity as a brake.

Read: The mystery at the center of the solar system

NASA is making this convoluted journey because the sun, as familiar as it may seem to us, is still a mysterious astronomical object. NASA named this mission after Eugene Parker, the astrophysicist who in the 1950s discovered solar wind, a stream of high-energy particles that flow from the corona at all times. Solar wind extends all the way out to the edges of the solar system, forming a cozy bubble around all our planets and moons, protecting us from interstellar radiation. Decades later, scientists still don’t understand the sun and many of its properties, including this blustery wind. They haven’t yet figured out where exactly the solar wind comes from, or how the sun manages to heat its atmosphere to 2 million degrees Fahrenheit while its surface stays a comparatively cooler 10,000 degrees.

When Parker flew into the superhot corona last year, it discovered the region where solar material churns before some of it escapes and becomes solar wind, blowing away from the sun and across the solar system. When this wind reaches Earth, we experience it as a uniform breeze. But inside the corona, Parker could detect individual streams, like liquid spilling out of a water balloon poked with holes, Stuart Bale, a physics professor at UC Berkeley who works on the Parker mission, told me. “We’re close enough now that we’re really starting to see that there are these discrete sources of the wind and that they merge together as they go out,” Bale said. The aspects of the sun that Parker experienced in its atmosphere—there’s no way to study them from afar. The only way was through, and then out.

Parker has since flown into the corona again, in November, and scientists are looking forward to sorting through the fresh data. The spacecraft is currently headed toward another close approach in late February, its one-of-a-kind heat shield ready to again protect its insides from the blazing environment. Small grains of cosmic dust—interstellar debris pulled in toward the sun, or remnants of evaporated comets that passed too close—have shorn off some bits of the spacecraft, as the team had expected. “We’ve had a couple of impacts that have taken out noncritical components of sensors,” Justin Kasper, a solar physicist on the Parker team, told me. It’s a slightly stressful situation, Kasper said, but Parker will survive, even as it gets closer. The mission is scheduled to swing past Venus twice more in the next few years so that it can get that much nearer to the sun and provide even deeper glimpses into the corona.

Read: Where is our sun’s twin?

Parker’s mission is slated to end in late 2025. NASA could decide to extend operations, but if it doesn’t, and Parker shuts down, the probe won’t be able to keep its heat shield pointed toward the sun, Korreck explained. It will melt into a charred piece of metal destined to orbit the sun for millions of years to come, never falling in, the same way so many other objects circle our star. If a collision with cosmic debris doesn't destroy Parker, the sun eventually will, several billion years from now, when the star runs out of fuel, expands, and overwhelms everything in the inner solar system.

For now, Parker is fine and functioning happily. During last year’s momentous dip into the corona, it captured black-and-white footage filled with dancing streaks of solar wind, and also bits of Parker itself, glowing white in the sunlight. In the background, the distinct shape of the Milky Way sweeps past, a sea of other stars, other suns. (Imagine other civilizations out there doing something similar, traveling into the center of their solar system to understand their own sun—dreamy!) Korreck finds it surreal that something she once touched has flown through the sun’s atmosphere. As a solar physicist, she experiences the sun differently than the rest of us do, her mind drawn to space probes and hot plasma on sunny days. “I remember I was at the beach and looking up there and thinking, Ha, Parker’s up there; Parker’s really close to the sun right now,” she told me. “And I’m sitting here enjoying the sun 93 million miles away.”

BeAChooser
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Re: The Parker Solar probe could help eliminate EU solar models.

Unread post by BeAChooser » Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:20 pm

As little as they understand the sun, I guess we're just lucky the Parker Solar Probe didn't trigger a mega flare and destroy the earth. ;)

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