NASA's Parker Solar Probe, the first human object to fly into the sun, completed its first solar eclipse on November 11 and collected an unprecedented amount of data on the action of our superstar. And now, weeks later, the data are coming home.
It could be a bit of a wait for scientists to analyze it and start coming up with some papers, but meanwhile, we have a feast in front of us: Parker sent back the first picture from her new house orbiting the sun.
By the WISPR vehicle (WidePride), the image shows a cancerous wire, also known as a helmet detector – a loop of coronal and plasma gases that bind two regions of polar opposite to the sun, extended by the solar wind.
Typically, the images we get from these currents look more like this, so from a distance of only 27.2 million miles, Parker already provides a much more detailed perspective of the structure of the film, with at least two light beams.
The bright spot you see is actually Mercury, waving from the background. Hey, Mercury! And black dots are artefact from background correction.
NASA did not tell us what the temperatures were while Parker was shooting this shot, but the spacecraft is equipped with a new heat shield, which will protect it to temperatures of 1,644 kelvin (1,370 degrees Fahrenheit or 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit).
The next flight is scheduled to start on April 4 next year, but scientists have a lot to sink their teeth for now.
"We do not know what to expect so close to the sun until we get the data, and we'll probably see some new phenomena," said project scientist Parker Nur Raouafi.
"Parker is a research mission – the potential for new discoveries is enormous."