Fly towards the solar corona: the Parker solar probe is on its way!


After a change at the last minute the day before the start of an unusual space mission today was a success: The Parker Solar Probe NASA is the surface of the sun up to 6.2 million km - 4 1/2 solar diameter - narrowest and thin as the extremely hot outer solar atmosphere, the Korona, with numerous instruments on the site 'explore. As an intermediary between the star and interplanetary space, this plasma, whose heating mechanism still baffles, plays an important role in "space weather", which sometimes also affects the Earth.

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During the effective start-up process was completed after 43 minutes, the Solar Probe Parker ship is still a long way ahead: the reduction of Ye necessarily cogiven Earth's orbital energy to bring it down towards the sun, requires seven overflights of Venus. The record in terms of perihelion maintains since 1976 the German-US probe Helios 2, which reached the 43.5 million km approach, but after the first overflight of Venus in October they reach 25 million km in November, and after each more visit of Venus, the minimum decency continues to decrease. Twenty-four sunsets are planned in total: to survive up to 1400 ° C, Parker Solar Probe has a thermal shield composed of 11.4 cm thick carbon fiber that protects the probe systems and four packages of scientific instruments. (After the end of the mission in about seven years, the probe will begin to fall soon and burn most, but this sign will attract millions of people around the sun.) The focus of research on energy and heat transport they are in the processes of corona acceleration and solar wind and high energy particles. Born in 1927, Eugene Parker is a pioneer in this field of research, and now the first living eponym of a space probe, which of course was a celebrated guest of honor from the beginning.

The FIELDS instrument package will measure with five antennas and three magnetometers the electric and magnetic fields of the corona, its waves, shocks, turbulences and short circuits. WISPR, Parker's large field image processor Solar Probe is the only imaging tool: It is permanently viewed with two cameras on the solar disk above, which in turn is covered, and captures the corona structures in which the probe it dips shortly itself - it is expected to be cleaner and more detailed than what comparable coronagraphs can offer on satellites such as SOHO. SWEAP - Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons - takes care of solar wind components with three instruments: electrons, protons and helium nuclei (alpha particles). And the Investigation of Integrated Sciences of the Sun - ISʘIS spoken with the symbol of the sun in the center and "Isis" - measure with two instruments, the spectra of electrons and ions of different chemical elements, the direction of the particles can detect and complete the picture of the high-energy processes in the corona and the outgoing solar wind. However, the $ 1.5 billion mission measurements are expected to uncover the key relationships that have been hidden from all remote observations of the sun, and certainly other stars.

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