2019 December 9

Looking Sideways from the Parker Solar Probe
Video Credit:
NASA, JHUAPL, Naval Research Lab, Parker Solar Probe

Explanation: Everybody sees the Sun. Nobody’s been there. Starting in 2018 though, NASA launched the robotic Parker Solar Probe (PSP) to investigate regions near to the Sun for the first time. The PSP’s looping orbit brings it yet closer to the Sun each time around — every few months. The featured time-lapse video shows the view looking sideways from behind PSP’s Sun shield during its first approach to the Sun a year ago — to about half the orbit of Mercury. The PSP’s Wide Field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) cameras took the images over nine days, but they are digitally compressed here into about 14 seconds. The waving solar corona is visible on the far left, with stars, planets, and even the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy streaming by in the background as the PSP orbits the Sun. PSP has found the solar neighborhood to be surprisingly complex and to include switchbacks — times when the Sun’s magnetic field briefly reverses itself. The Sun is not only Earth’s dominant energy source, its variable solar wind compresses Earth’s atmosphere, triggers auroras, affects power grids, and can even damage orbiting communication satellites.

帕克太阳探测器向侧面看到的景象
影像来源与版权: N
ASA, JHUAPL, Naval Research Lab, Parker Solar Probe

说明:每个人都能看到太阳。但没人去过那里。不过,从2018年开始,美国宇航局首次发射了帕克太阳探测器(PSP)来探索太阳附近的区域。PSP的环形轨道使它每隔几个月环绕太阳一次,每次就更接近太阳。这段精彩的延时视频呈现了PSP在一年前第一次接近太阳时(距离太阳大约是水星轨道的一半)时,从其遮阳板后方向侧面看到的景象。PSP的大视场成像仪(WISPR)用时超过9天拍摄了这些影像,但由这些影像构建而成的视频被数字压缩到约14秒。摇曳的日冕在影像最左侧清晰可见,当PSP环绕太阳运行时,恒星、行星,甚至我们银河系的中央带都会在视频背景中出现。PSP发现太阳附近的区域异常复杂,其中包括太阳磁场短暂逆转自身的时间。太阳不仅是地球的主要能量来源,它多变的太阳风会压缩地球大气,触发极光,影响电网,甚至会损坏轨道上的通信卫星。

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