POV: You're A NASA Probe Skimming The Surface Of The Sun


The Parker Space Probe is described by NASA as being “about the size of a small car,” and its only goal is to fly as close to the sun as possible to try to unravel some solar mysteries. What exactly is going on in the ‘solar corona,’ and what do solar flares really do? The space car, launched back in 2018, is currently sitting about 5.8 million miles from the sun and just over a year ago it flew right through a massively powerful sun explosion. Here is what that looked like.

The explosion is called a coronal mass ejection, and this is the first time in history that any spacecraft has ever flown straight through one. A stream of particles erupted from their orbit around the sun, interplanetary space dust blown away from the sun by the CME event. You can see in the gif from NASA that at the start the view of the satellite’s sensor is obscured by lots of dust and debris, and the surrounding stars get clearer as the dust is vacuumed away from view. Without the interplanetary dust in view, there’s nothing to reflect the light of the sun.


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