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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe records an extraordinary video during its daring encounter with the Sun, leaving you utterly speechless.

In a groundbreaking milestone, the elusive boundary known as the Alfvén critical surface, which demarcates the Sun’s corona from the unimpeded flow of the solar wind, has been successfully identified for the very first time.

This momentous achievement took place in April of the previous year, as the Parker Solar Probe fearlessly navigated the Sun’s corona on three separate occasions.

The boundary itself exhibits a nonuniform shape, spanning an average distance of 18.8 times the radius of the Sun from its central core.

The Sun’s magnetic field reigns supreme, dictating the movements of charged particles in its vicinity. Notably, the magnetic pressure within the corona surpasses the thermal pressure, facilitating the propagation of magnetohydrodynamic Alfvén waves at speeds far surpassing that of sound waves.

Why Didn’t The Spacecraft Melt

The design of the Parker Solar Probe is tailored to withstand the extreme climatic conditions and wide temperature fluctuations encountered during its mission. Its unparalleled resilience lies in its distinctive heat shield and an autonomous mechanism that safeguards the probe while enabling direct interaction with coronal material.

Additionally, it is important to note that the corona, which the Parker Solar Probe traverses, possesses an exceptionally high temperature but a relatively low density. To illustrate, consider the contrast between placing your hand in an oven versus submerging it in boiling water (please refrain from attempting this at home!). Hands can endure significantly higher temperatures for longer durations within an oven compared to boiling water due to the differing density of particles they encounter.

Likewise, the corona exhibits lower density compared to the Sun’s visible surface, resulting in the spacecraft being exposed to fewer high-energy particles and receiving less heat compared to its encounter with the visible surface. Consequently, the heat shield of the Parker Solar Probe, while venturing through the corona atmosphere with temperatures reaching several million degrees, is only heated to approximately 2,500°F (1,400°C).

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