NASA finally found out the power of the shock wave in the solar wind

Our Sun is a very interesting space object. Held in the bowels of the star reactions cause the appearance of a huge number of phenomena. From the energy release in form of heat and light to the infamous solar radiation. However, observing the Sun, scientists were able to discover another interesting phenomenon. Namely, the solar wind. It was opened enough for a long time and its properties are even very successfully used for launching small spacecraft beyond the Solar system. However, only recently managed to figure out the impact force of the solar wind.

What is solar wind

The solar wind is a stream of ionized particles helium-hydrogen plasma generated by thermonuclear reactions in the Sun. These particles are “emitted” by the Sun and propagated throughout the Solar system. While solar wind is associated with many cosmic phenomena, including magnetic storms and auroras. And have you ever seen polar lights?

But back to the solar winds. They are of two types: fast (speeds of up to 1200 kilometers per second) and slow (about 300 kilometers per second). So, when fast solar wind overtakes slow, is quite a powerful shock wave that spreads throughout the solar system. And until recently to fix the power of this wave was not possible. But scientists at NASA have managed to do it thanks in a special way located skoplenii satellites.

As the measured power of the shock wave of solar wind

On the “route” of the shock wave was raspolozhenie 4 magnetospheric multiscale satellite. Each satellite was located at a distance of 20 kilometers from the next, forming a straight line in the course of shock wave propagation. This distance was enough to ensure that the devices located on the spacecraft, were able to capture the velocity of the particles.

The spacecraft has received an unprecedented accurate data on the movement of particles. In particular, the sensitive sensors on Board satellites were able to measure the position of particles in space with a periodicity of 0.3 milliseconds. It was enough so that, knowing the time and distance, which for him was the particle, vychislit its speed. ‐ the researchers write in their paper, opublikovannaya in the journal Geophysical Research.

During the measurements it was discovered two of the bunch of ions: the first came from a slow shock waves, solar wind, and the second — collision ion fast solar wind and slow. Scientists say that they managed to fix it “meeting” slow and fast solar wind — a great success and it will help much more to learn about the nature of the solar wind.