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Wednesday, January 31, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
Exploring the Near-Sun Environment with Parker Solar Probe
Brian E. Wood, Research Physicist, Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory,

Launched in 2018, Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is the first NASA missiondesigned to directly explore the plasma environment near the Sun, with afinal orbital configuration that will bring PSP within 10 solar radii ofthe solar surface in December 2024.  Although the spacecraft is dominatedby in situ plasma and field instrumentation, there is one imager on board,the Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR).  WISPR consists of twowhite-light telescopes (WISPR-I and WISPR-O) that image Thomson-scatteredlight from solar wind electrons ahead of PSP in its orbit.  I will presentsome results from the PSP mission so far, with a focus on WISPRdata.  WISPR has provided novel new observations of the solar windflow and transients within it (e.g., coronal mass ejections), from veryclose to the Sun.  During one of PSP's encounters with Venus, WISPR alsosurprisingly became the first telescope to penetrate Venus's thickatmosphere and image the Venusian surface in optical light.

For more information, please contact Jim Fuller by email at [email protected] or visit