Spectacular Time-Lapse Footage Taken by World’s First Spacecraft To “Touch the Sun”

NASA's Parker Solar Probe recently made history by flying into the Sun's atmosphere. By “touching the Sun,” the spacecraft is bringing us a plethora of new information about this central part of our solar system. While passing through the Sun's corona, Parker took pictures of structures called coronal streamers, which are typically only seen by us on Earth during a solar eclipse. Now, those images have been transformed into a fascinating time-lapse.

In the short clip, we see what are also referred to as pseudostreamers. Parker encountered these massive structures just below 15 solar radii (around 6.5 million miles) from the Sun's surface. Comparing it to flying into the eye of a storm, NASA noted that once the solar probe was inside the pseudostreamer, everything quieted. In the time-lapse, these coronal streamers can be seen as bright streaks moving up and down.

It's fascinating material like this, which was captured by Parker's WISPR instrument, that makes the mission historic. And, in case you wanted even more detail, astronomy lovers in the Twitterverse have blessed us with a breakdown of the video. Astrophysicist Grant Tremblay, who works for Harvard and the Smithsonian's Center for Astrophysics, made some astute observations about a few of the dots visible in the images.

He spotted both Venus and Mercury toward the end of the footage, which was confirmed by computational scientist Karl Battams. Dr. Battams works with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Sungrazer Project and was able to identify many of the planets visible in the clip. It's these collaborative efforts and a shared interest in the Parker Solar Probe that highlight the unity of the astronomy community.

So sit back and take a trip to the Sun with this clip and then slow things down to try and identify all these planets.

NASA put together an incredible time-lapse of the coronal streamers viewed by the Parker Solar Probe.

Researchers on Twitter then put together a map to what planets are visible in the footage.

h/t: [PetaPixel]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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