Hey Space Placers!
In early 2021, Parker Solar Probe flew through structures in the corona called streamers. This movie shows that data from the spacecraft’s WISPR (Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar PRobe) instrument.
Credit: Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ben Smith
This incredible video is what the Parker Solar Probe saw when it made history flying through the Sun's upper atmosphere, known as the corona, for the first time ever. Yes, that is the Milky Way you see in the video and a myriad of particles. Results of this historic accomplishment were shared on December 14th at an ongoing science conference.
From Earth we can only see the corona during a total eclipse of the Sun.
The Sun's Corona as seen in 2017 total solar eclipse.
Credit: Greg Redfern
It is a science mystery as to how the corona reaches its million degree-plus temperature in just a few hundred miles above the Sun's gaseous photosphere where the temp is much lower at about 10,000 degrees F.
Parker will continue to study the Sun in coming years and more and even closer flybys. The Sun is entering the Solar Maximum phase of its "Eleven Year Cycle" so we will learn much about or star.
I am gearing up to safely observe and hopefully photograph the Sun at Solar Maximum so I hope I will have results to share with you!