December 8, 2021

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NASA sun spacecraft whizzes through 9th solar flyby

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NASA’s sun-grazing spacecraft is making its ninth daring dive past our neighborhood star in a continuing quest to puzzle out secrets of how the sun works.

Parker Solar Probe was closest to the sun during its latest flyby on Monday (Aug. 9) at 3:10 p.m. EDT (1910 GMT), when the spacecraft was about 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers) away from the sun’s surface. At that time, the probe was traveling at about 330,000 mph (532,000 kph). The spacecraft is focusing on understanding the mechanism by which the sun’s atmosphere gets so hot — thousands of degrees hotter than the sun’s surface — and the origins of the solar wind, a constant flood of charged particles streaming across the solar system.

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