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 New NASA Probe May Solve Three Big Mysteries About the Sun

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PostSubject: New NASA Probe May Solve Three Big Mysteries About the Sun   Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:10 am

... First, the mission will hopefully reveal why the surface of the sun, called the photosphere, is not as hot as the sun's atmosphere, called the corona. The surface of the sun is only about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius). But the atmosphere above it is a sizzling 3.5 million F (2 million C), according to NASA.

"You'd think the farther away you get from a heat source, you'd get colder," Christian told Live Science. "Why the atmosphere is hotter than the surface is a big puzzle."



Second, scientists want to know how solar wind gets its speed. "The sun blows a stream of charged particles in all directions at a million miles an hour," he said. "But we don't understand how that gets accelerated."
People have known about solar wind for years, as early observers noticed that the tails of comets always pointed away from the sun, even if the comet was traveling in another direction. This suggested that something — that is, solar wind — was coming off the sun faster than the comet was moving, Christian said.
Third, the mission may ascertain why the sun occasionally emits high-energy particles — called solar energetic particles — that are a danger to unprotected astronauts and spacecraft.
Researchers have tried to figure out these mysteries from Earth, but "the trouble is we're 93 million miles away," Christian said. "[The distance makes] things get smeared out in a way that makes it hard to tell what's happening at the sun."

http://www.nbcnews.com/mach/space/new-nasa-probe-may-solve-three-big-mysteries-about-sun-n726131
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