A Touch Of The Sun For The First Time In History

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Sun: Every Saturday, #AstroMiniBR bring together five relevant and fun astronomical curiosities produced by the contributors to the Twitter profile to spread the knowledge of this science, which is the oldest of all!

#1: A new milestone for solar astrophysics!

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe probe entered the Sun’s upper atmosphere known as the solar corona and became the first human-built object to touch the Sun! Launched in the year 2018 to explore the mysteries of our star, the probe took 3 years to get there and is traveling closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it! The impressive achievement unveiled this week will help scientists uncover critical information about our star and better understand its influence on the Solar System, as the spacecraft can now analyze samples of particles and magnetic fields from the Sun’s uppermost layers. because, as the Parker Solar Probe orbits closer to the solar surface, new discoveries about its physical properties, such as those of the solar wind (defined as the flow of particles emanating from the Sun) are being made. For example, two years ago, in 2019, the spacecraft discovered that oscillating magnetic structures are common and abundant in these regions near the Sun’s surface. phenomena that would be impossible to study at a distance.

#2: Neptune’s supersonic winds!

The planet Neptune collects a number of interesting physical properties: since Pluto’s downgrade in 2006, it’s the eighth and farthest planet in the Solar System, it’s the fourth largest planet in diameter, the third most massive planet, and the densest giant planet of all . Furthermore, it is about 17 times the mass of Earth and a single year on Neptune is equivalent to 164.8 Earth years. None of these properties, however, is more surprising than the fact that Neptune has the fastest gusts of wind among all the planets! Reaching up to 2000 km/h, this speed is much higher than the speed of sound on Earth, approximately 1,235 km/h! These extreme winds in its atmosphere, composed mainly of hydrogen and smaller portions of helium and methane (which absorb red light and give the planet its blue color), are believed to be caused by Neptune’s internal heat source that contributes to vertical convection in its gaseous layers.