Science Seminars

Exploring our Closest Star with Parker Solar Probe

Speaker: David Malaspina (LASP)
Date: Thursday, Nov 14, 2019
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

In August 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe embarked on a mission of discovery to explore the corona and stellar wind of our closest star, the Sun. By measuring particles, photons, electric fields, and magnetic fields, Parker Solar Probe strives to answer open long-standing questions about the sources, variability, heating, and acceleration of the solar wind, as well as the acceleration of energetic particles. Now, in November 2019, the spacecraft has successfully completed three solar orbits, first results papers are accepted for publication, and data from the first two solar encounters are newly released to the public.

In this talk, we give a brief overview of the mission, including its science goals, the spacecraft, and instruments. We then discuss how observations of the abundance of plasma waves detected in the near-Sun solar wind offer new insights into the macro-scale structure, acceleration, and heating of the solar wind.