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Authors: Velli M., Harra L. K., Vourlidas A., Schwadron N., Panasenco O., et al.
Title: Understanding the origins of the heliosphere: integrating observations and measurements from Parker Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter, and other space- and ground-based observatories

Context. The launch of Parker Solar Probe (PSP) in 2018, followed by Solar Orbiter (SO) in February 2020, has opened a new window in the exploration of solar magnetic activity and the origin of the heliosphere. These missions, together with other space observatories dedicated to solar observations, such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Hinode, IRIS, STEREO, and SOHO, with complementary in situ observations from WIND and ACE, and ground based multi-wavelength observations including the DKIST observatory that has just seen first light, promise to revolutionize our understanding of the solar atmosphere and of solar activity, from the generation and emergence of the Sun's magnetic field to the creation of the&. . .
Date: 09/2020 Publisher: Astronomy & Astrophysics Pages: A4 DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202038245 Available at:
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Authors: Longcope Dana
Title: Using Kepler’s laws and Rutherford scattering to chart the seven gravity assists in the epic sunward journey of the Parker Solar Probe

On August 12, 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) to explore regions very near the Sun. Losing enough energy and angular momentum to approach the Sun requires either an impractical amount of fuel or a maneuver called a gravity assist. A gravity assist is essentially an elastic collision with a massive, moving target—Rutherford scattering from a planet. Gravity assists are often used to gain energy in missions destined for the outer solar system, but they can also be used to lose energy. Reaching an orbit sufficiently close to the Sun requires that PSP undergoes not one but seven successive gravity assists off the planet Venus. This simple description poses several conceptual challenges to the curious physics student. Why is it so much more challenging to get to the Sun th. . .
Date: 01/2020 Publisher: American Journal of Physics Pages: 11 - 19 DOI: 10.1119/10.0000145 Available at:
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Authors: Cheng Long, Zhang Quanhao, Wang Yuming, Li Xiaolei, and Liu Rui
Title: Using Stereoscopic Observations of Cometary Plasma Tails to Infer Solar Wind Speed

Detection of the solar wind speed near the Sun is significant in understanding the heating and acceleration of the solar wind. Cometary plasma tails have long been used as natural probes for solar wind speed; previous solar wind speed estimates via plasma tails, however, were based on comet images from a single viewpoint, and the projection effect may influence the result. Using stereoscopic observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, we three-dimensionally reconstruct the plasma tails of three comets C/2012 S1 (ISON), C/2010 E6, and C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) and infer the ambient solar wind speed. The first comet is located between 3.5 and 6 solar radii (Rs) away from the Sun at high latitudes; the estimated solar wind speed is ab. . .
Date: 07/2020 Publisher: The Astrophysical Journal Pages: 87 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab93b6 Available at:
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