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Spacecraft Enters into Sun’s Hot Corona for the First time in History


Published on: January 7, 2022,

The surface temperature of earth is very hot. It has been thought a spacecraft can never enter into the Sun’s hot corona. A spacecraft launched by NASA has done what was once thought impossible. The Parker Solar Probe has successfully entered the corona of the Sun which has temperature of roughly 2 million degrees Fahrenheit.


The historic moment was achieved with a large collaboration of Scientists and Engineers including members of the Center of Astrophysics who built and monitor a key instrument the Solar Probe Cup. The cup collects particles from the Sun’s atmosphere that helped scientist verify that the spacecraft has indeed crossed into the corona.  The goal of this mission is to learn how the Sun works.


The Corona is the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere where strong magnetic fields bind plasma and prevent turbulent solar winds from escape. According to data collected by the cup, the spacecraft entered the corona three times in April 28, at one point for up to five hours.  To avoid degradation the device is constructed of materials that have high melting points like tungsten, niobium, molybdenum and sapphire.


With this success of Parker Solar Probe scientists are hoping to reveal many mysteries of Earth’s closest star. For example Scientists do not know why outer atmosphere of the Sun is so much hotter that the Sun itself. Moreover scientists do not know that energy comes from the surface of the sun but they do not know how the Sun’s atmosphere absorbs this energy.  The historic achievement of the Parker Solar Probe was announced at a press conference at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).


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