The solar system is constantly bathed in an ocean of charged particles emitted by the sun, and a research team has spent 14 years chasing solar eclipses to learn more about this stellar spray.
These particles are called the solar wind, and they come from the outermost region of the sun: the corona. If a person is lucky enough to observe a total solar eclipse, they will definitely see this pearl-like area surrounding the sun. This dim area has all the visual charm of the cosmic aura, but it is also hell. The corona is the hottest region of the sun, with temperatures reaching 2 million degrees Fahrenheit (more than 1 million degrees Celsius). The extreme temperature found in this gaseous star cocoon confuses scientists because it is completely different from what happens 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) below the corona, where the temperature is significantly below 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Fahrenheit). degrees Celsius), according to NASA.
Scientists want to understand the reasons for the solar wind. The solar wind defines the parameters of the solar system and sets its limits: as the solar wind spreads thinner and thinner, the further it is from the sun, the particles cannot withstand the push of interstellar space. The solar wind closer to the earth can protect us from dangerous cosmic radiation, but it can also damage space communications satellites and GPS systems.
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University of Hawaii solar researcher Shaddia Habbal has led a team to Oregon, Indonesia, Argentina, the Sahara Desert in Libya, the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and many more solar eclipse locations in the last 14 years . Your goal is to observe the corona a little longer than it takes the sun to complete a solar cycle (approximately 11 years). A total solar eclipse occurs because the moon’s disk blocks all sunlight outside the corona. This is an important opportunity for researchers to observe the source of the earth’s solar wind.
The team used a camera equipped with a special filter to make high-resolution observations of 11 total solar eclipses. This device allows scientists to measure the temperature of the particles in the innermost part of the corona, which is the birthplace of the solar wind. The researchers then compared their findings with data from NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) mission, which was launched in 1997 to observe the solar wind at a space location about 1/100 from the earth to the sun.
During the 11-year cycle of the sun, stars oscillate between the resting period and the fluctuating period. When the sun is calm, there are almost no sunspots on the faces of the stars. This is very different from the unstable season of the sun, when blemishes and solar flares are common.
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STEREOA’s view of the interior of the solar system. When Mercury enters from the left side of the screen, Comet Atlas crosses the screen; at the same time, the solar wind blows from the sun on the left. From May 25 to June 1, 2020, the
three-dimensional star’s view of the interior of the solar system. When Mercury enters from the left side of the screen, Comet Atlas crosses the screen; at the same time, the solar wind blows from the sun on the left.
(Image source: NASA/NRL/STEREO/Karl Battams)
The completely different appearance of the sun during the solar cycle surprised these scientists to discover that despite all the global solar changes that have occurred over the course of 11 years, he was 14 Years’ observations show that the temperature of the inner corona particles that generate the solar wind has not changed significantly.
Benjamin Boe, a solar energy researcher at the University of Hawaii who was involved in this new study, said in a statement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): “Whether it is heating most of the corona or the solar wind, it does not depend much on the sun The cycle of activities. ”Investigation
“ The temperature at the source of the solar wind in the corona is almost constant throughout the solar cycle, ”Habar said in a statement.“ This discovery It was unexpected, because the structure of the corona is driven by changes in the distribution of the magnetized plasma in the corona. These changes vary greatly over the 11-year magnetic solar cycle. ”
According to NASA, to solve this new mystery, researchers plan to continue tracking the total solar eclipse in the future for more observations. The next total solar eclipse will occur. over Antarctica in December.

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