NASA Spacecraft Captures First-Ever Footage Taken From The Sun
By Mikelle Leow, 20 Dec 2021
Unlike Icarus, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe flew close to the Sun—even “touching” it—and lived. Last week, it was reported that the spacecraft made history’s first trip to the upper solar atmosphere, or corona, in August. It even sent back footage from that zone, and the space agency has since shared what the probe saw while being surrounded by the Sun’s “streamers.”
While the streamers can be viewed on Earth when a total solar eclipse happens, this is the first time scientists have been able to observe them up close. Captivating images captured by the probe, stitched into a 13-second timelapse video, see it in between those moving bright features, with some of the Solar System visible too. “Such a view is only possible because the spacecraft flew above and below the streamers inside the corona,” says the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
As pointed out by astrophysicist Grant Tremblay in a series of tweets, via PetaPixel, the clip even offers a glimpse of the Milky Way rotating in the background, along with views of planets in the Solar System from the Sun, Earth included.
Parker project scientist Nour Raouafi details that the probe’s proximity to the Sun makes it extra astute to changing conditions in solar winds and the corona’s magnetic layer—conditions “that we never could [sense] before.”
This is only the beginning, of course. “I’m excited to see what Parker Solar Probe finds as it repeatedly passes through the corona in the years to come,” notes NASA Heliophysics Division Director Nicky Fox. “The opportunity for new discoveries is boundless.”
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