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The Sun...Up Close and Personal

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Solar Probe acquired this image - 1st-ever taken from inside the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona - on December 8.

The bright streak is a coronal streamer. The bright object near the center is the sun's innermost planet Mercury.

The dark spots are a result of background correction.

Image via NASA/Naval Research Laboratory/Parker Solar Probe.




The sun as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in October 2017.

Image via NASA/SDO/Seán Doran.

The probe is inside the sun's outer ring/corona.



Parker Solar Probe’s mission is try to answer three basic questions about the sun:

– How is the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, heated to temperatures about 300 times higher than the visible surface below?
– How is the solar wind accelerated so quickly to the high speeds we observe?
– How do some of the sun’s most energetic particles rocket away from the sun at more than half the speed of light?


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