Caution: contents hot

So it was Parker, not Icarus, who managed to touch the sun.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe becomes first spacecraft to ‘touch’ the sunCNN
Sixty years after NASA set the goal, and three years after its Parker Solar Probe launched, the spacecraft has become the first to “touch the sun.” The Parker Solar Probe has successfully flown through the sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere, to sample particles and our star’s magnetic fields.

NASA enters the solar atmosphere for the first timeNASA
The new milestone marks one major step for Parker Solar Probe and one giant leap for solar science. Just as landing on the Moon allowed scientists to understand how it was formed, touching the very stuff the Sun is made of will help scientists uncover critical information about our closest star and its influence on the solar system.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe touches the Sun for the first timeNASA Goddard: YouTube
For the first time in history, a spacecraft has touched the Sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has now flown through the Sun’s upper atmosphere – the corona – and sampled particles and magnetic fields there.

Some interesting simulations, but what does it actually look like when you’re that close? This might help.

This footage from the first-ever probe to touch the sun will leave you speechlessScience Alert
The footage is made up of individual images captured between August 8 and 12 this year, during the probe’s ninth perihelion, or closest approach to the Sun. And, let’s be honest, it looks like something straight out of a sci-fi film.

Parker Solar Probe flying through plasma jets in the Sun’s coronaScience Alert: YouTube
The Parker Solar Probe flies through structures in the Sun’s corona called streamers. This footage shows data from the WISPR instrument on Parker Solar Probe.

Incredible, eerie footage. Reminds me of Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt’s experimental video, Black Rain.

But let’s zoom back out a little, to see a fuller picture.

A massive composite of 150,000 images reveals the swirling, feather-like details of the sunColossal
From dark spots and wispy flares to coronal loops that burst upward in brilliant arches, a giant new composite by Andrew McCarthy exposes the intricate, swirling patterns that cloak the sun’s surface. “Fire and Fusion” is a 300-megapixel image captured at 2 p.m. on November 29 and the Arizona-based photographer’s most detailed shot of the celestial matter yet.

And in case you were wondering

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.

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