Solar Probe Plus

FighterJock

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Interesting to see that the Parker Solar Probe has broken its own speed and distance record while in orbit around the sun.
 

Flyaway

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Using data from NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP), a team led by Southwest Research Institute identified low-energy particles lurking near the Sun that likely originated from solar wind interactions well beyond Earth orbit. PSP is venturing closer to the Sun than any previous probe, carrying hardware SwRI helped develop. Scientists are probing the enigmatic features of the Sun to answer many questions, including how to protect space travelers and technology from the radiation associated with solar events.

 

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Article about the WISPR instrument, especially its imaging of Venus.

 

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Pristine PSP/WISPR Observations of the Circumsolar Dust Ring near Venus's Orbit

Abstract
The Parker Solar Probe mission (PSP) has completed seven orbits around the Sun. The Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) on PSP consists of two visible light heliospheric imagers, which together image the interplanetary medium between 13
fdg
5 and 108° elongation. The PSP/WISPR nominal science observing window occurs during the solar encounters, which take place when the spacecraft (S/C) is within 0.25 au from the Sun. During Orbit 3, an extended science campaign took place while PSP transited between 0.5 and 0.25 au (during both inbound and outbound orbit segments). PSP mission operations implemented a variety of 180° S/C rolls about the S/C-Sun pointing axis during the extended science window. The vantage of the PSP location, combined with the different S/C roll orientations, allowed us to unveil a circumsolar dust density enhancement associated with Venus's orbit. Specifically, we observed an excess brightness band of about 1% at its center over the brightness of the background zodiacal light in all PSP/WISPR images obtained during the extended campaign. We explain this brightness band as due to an increase in the density of the circumsolar dust orbiting the Sun close to the Venusian orbit. The projected latitudinal extent of the ring is estimated at about 0.043 au ± 0.004 au, exhibiting an average density enhancement of the order of 10%. Here, we report and characterize the first comprehensive, pristine observations of the plane-of-sky projection of the dust ring in almost its full 360° longitudinal extension.


Source: https://gizmodo.com/in-a-scientific-first-astronomers-capture-a-complete-v-1846712924
 

Flyaway

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Successful Eighth Solar Flyby for Parker Solar Probe

Sarah Frazier Posted on May 3, 2021

On May 2, 2021, at 3:00 a.m. EDT, mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Maryland, received a “tone one” beacon from Parker Solar Probe, indicating that all systems were healthy and operating normally after the spacecraft’s eighth close approach to the Sun on April 29.

During this close pass by the Sun — called perihelion — Parker Solar Probe broke its own records for spacecraft distance from the Sun and speed, coming to within about 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers) of the Sun’s surface, while moving faster than 330,000 miles per hour (532,000 kilometers per hour).

Science data collection for this solar encounter continues through May 4.

 

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Successful Ninth Solar Flyby for Parker Solar Probe

Sarah Frazier Posted on August 13, 2021

On Aug. 13, 2021, at 5:50 a.m. EDT, mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Maryland, received a “tone one” beacon from Parker Solar Probe, indicating that all systems were healthy and operating normally after the spacecraft’s ninth close approach to the Sun on Aug. 9.

During this close pass by the Sun — called perihelion — Parker Solar Probe matched its own records for spacecraft distance from the Sun and speed, coming to within about 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers) of the Sun’s surface, while moving faster than 330,000 miles per hour (532,000 kilometers per hour).

Science data collection for this solar encounter continues through Aug. 15.

 

FighterJock

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Successful Ninth Solar Flyby for Parker Solar Probe

Sarah Frazier Posted on August 13, 2021

On Aug. 13, 2021, at 5:50 a.m. EDT, mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Maryland, received a “tone one” beacon from Parker Solar Probe, indicating that all systems were healthy and operating normally after the spacecraft’s ninth close approach to the Sun on Aug. 9.

During this close pass by the Sun — called perihelion — Parker Solar Probe matched its own records for spacecraft distance from the Sun and speed, coming to within about 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers) of the Sun’s surface, while moving faster than 330,000 miles per hour (532,000 kilometers per hour).

Science data collection for this solar encounter continues through Aug. 15.


Excellent news for the Parker Solar Probe, completed it’s ninth flyby of the Sun, I cannot wait to see what the science data is going to be when it is released now that the Sun is coming out of it’s long solar minimum.
 

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NASA’s historic mission to “touch the Sun” has encountered a heavy bombardment of dust, surprising mission scientists and resulting in some fascinating new data about the Parker Solar Probe’s increasingly hostile environment.

“These observations are ‘happy surprises’ in that the impact explosions produce clouds of material so dense that we can watch fundamental solar wind physics operate in a way that would not be possible otherwise,” David Malaspina, a research scientist from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, explained in an email. “They are also ‘happy surprises’ in that the impacts so far have not been large enough to overcome the dust impact shielding designed into much of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft.”

The total number of collisions now number in the tens of thousands, and the probe has endured intense periods during which it was struck by hypervelocity dust grains once every 12 seconds on average, according to Malaspina. Most impacts aren’t producing debris and dense plasma clouds, but the team did manage to identify around 250 very high-energy impacts that occurred during Parker’s first eight orbits of the Sun.

That said, an energetic particle instrument is beginning to degrade; the impacts have punched a hole through the device, “allowing sunlight to reach the instrument’s sensitive detectors, and driving up their noise levels,” Malaspina explained. But he’s not worried. Even taking the greater density of dust into account, “the updated predictions for the probability of catastrophic failure suggest that there is a high probability—but not 100%—that Parker Solar Probe will survive all 24 planned orbits,” he said.

 

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