NASA’s $1.5 Billion Spacecraft Just Beamed Back The Closest Picture We’ve Ever Taken Of The Sun

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In August this year, NASA launched its Parker Solar Probe. Parker Solar Probe flew exceedingly close to the Sun. Its current path has brought it within 15 million miles from the Sun’s surface. It is also moving at 213,200 miles per hour, which is the fastest any spacecraft made by human beings has ever traveled. It is, at the moment, far closer than the planet Mercury.

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Just a day ago it sent back a glimpse of what the Sun’s surface and outermost region looks like from the current distance of the spacecraft.

“Parker is an exploration mission — the potential for new discoveries is huge,” says Nour Raouafi, Parker Solar Probe project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University.

Fortunately, NASA has some informative explanation about what exactly we are looking at. The photo displays a so-called coronal streamer traveling towards the “east limb of the Sun.” And that a relatively big white section in the center? That’s actually Jupiter, in the background. Here’s the picture in its full glory:

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