AGU 2019 - New Science from NASA's Parker Solar Probe Mission
Released on December 11, 2019
Little more than a year into its mission, Parker Solar Probe has returned gigabytes of data on the Sun and its atmosphere. The very first science from the Parker mission is just beginning to be shared, and five researchers presented new findings from the mission at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Dec. 11, 2019. Their research hints at the processes behind both the Sun's continual outflow of material — the solar wind — and more infrequent solar storms that can disrupt technology and endanger astronauts, along with new insight into space dust that creates the Geminids meteor shower.
Nicholeen Viall - Research Astrophysicist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Tim Horbury - Professor of Physics, Imperial College London Kelly Korreck - Astrophysicist, Head of Science Operations for SWEAP Suite, Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Nathan Schwadron - Presidential Chair, Norman S. and Anna Marie Waite Professor, University of New Hampshire Karl Battams - Computational Scientist, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
The Sun, in UV light, during Parker Solar Probe’s first closest approach in its first orbit. White magnetic field lines are shown originating in a small coronal hole; kinks, based on real Parker measurements, show the switchbacks observed during the encounter.
One of the fastest CMEs in years was captured by the STEREO COR1 telescopes on August 1, 2010. This movie, combining COR1-Ahead images with the simultaneous Helium II 304 Angstrom images from the STEREO EUVI telescope, shows the rapid explosion of material outward, followed by a slower eruption of a polar crown prominence from another part of the Sun. This CME is seen to be heading towards Earth at speeds well over 1000 kilometers per second.
Running Difference movie from NASA's SECCHI COR 2 imager on STEREO A. This shows a coronal mass ejection lifting off on the left side of the video that Parker Solar Probe flew threw in November 11-12 2018.
Here's a view of the Sun, from the point of view of a fleet of Sun-observing spacecraft - SOHO, TRACE, and RHESSI. The time scales of the data samples in this visualization range from 6 hours to as short as 12 seconds and the display rate varies throughout the movie. The region and event of interest is the solar flare over solar active region AR9906 on April 21, 2002. In this visualization, black corresponds to no (current) instrument coverage.
Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio. A special thanks to all those who contributed data and advice without which this product would not have been possible (in no particular order): Alexander Kosovichev (Stanford University), Todd Hoeksema (Stanford University), Steele Hill (L-3 Communications Analytics Corporation/GSFC), Brian R. Dennis (NASA/GSFC), Peter T. Gallagher (L-3 Communications Analytics Corporation/GSFC), Joseph B. Gurman (NASA/GSFC), Nathan Rich (Interferometrics Inc./NRL), Bernhard Fleck (NASA/GSFC), Craig DeForest (SwRI), Philip Scherrer (Stanford University)
Combined visualization of 3D magnetic field lines, and proton flux for energies above 50 MeV (the GOES 2nd channel) fopr the July 14, 2000 "Bastille Day" flare/CME.. The > 50 MeV flux is shown as color contours. The figure in the leftmost column display the low coronal portion (out to about 4RS) of the simulation, the middle frames display the corona to about 17RS, and the rightmost frame show the domain to 1 AU (the green sphere on the righthand edge of these images shows the Earth’s position.
Credit: Linker, Jon A. and Caplan, Ronald M., Schwadron, Nathan and Gorby, Matthew and Downs, Cooper and Torok, Tibor and Lionello, Roberto and Wijaya, Janvier, Coupled MHD-Focused Transport Simulations for Modeling Solar Particle Events, Journal of Physics Conference Series, 1225, 012007, 2019, doi = 10.1088/1742-6596/1225/1/012007
Enlil model of the 2019 April 20 CME propagating out to PSP. Left panels show modeled densities and right panels show the difference between the modeled density with the CME and the ambient density in the background solar wind. An animation is available. The video starts on 2019-04-01T02:01 and ends at 2019-05-01T00:02. The real-time video duration is 29 s.
Credit: Schwadron, N. A. et al., ApJS, in Press, 2019
Composite of the PSP/WISPR Inner and Outer cameras during the first solar encounter (Nov 2018). The location and relative size of the Sun is shown to scale, remaining just outside of the field of view and allowing WISPR to observe solar outflow and coronal mass ejections. Many stars, and the Milky Way, can be see crossing the images. Credit: Brendan Gallagher/Karl Battams/NRL
The same image sequence as [above] but with additional processing to reduce the brightness of stars and enhance fainter features. Here we are able to see more clearly the very faint dust trail – the Geminds – following the orbit of asteroid (3200) Phaethon. Credit: Brendan Gallagher/Karl Battams/NRL