Nothing more spectacular than an image of the solar wind. Due to the very high temperatures of our star and its gravitational force, the plasma of which the solar corona is composed, the outermost layer, cannot be contained. That is why the crown expands beyond the orbit of Pluto, giving rise to a wind called solar.
Its existence came to light after a theory proposed by the solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker in 1959. This theory was confirmed a couple of years later by the Lunik and Mariner 2 ships. The solar wind is mainly composed of protons and electrons. . It also contains a small part of helium nuclei (4%) and some heavier elements (1%). Among others, nitrogen, oxygen, neon, carbon, magnesium or iron.
The solar wind speed ranges between 300 and 1,200 kilometers per second. To get an idea, the maximum speed reached by winds from land hurricanes does not exceed 250 kilometers per hour. The speed of the solar wind is much faster than that of sound, so it is a supersonic wind.
Luckily, solar wind does not greatly affect the surface of the Earth. One of its effects are the northern lights that can be seen at the Earth's poles. The magnetic field of our planet protects it from a rain of protons and electrons. At the level of the magnetosphere, the solar wind does cause damage, especially on the objects that are in this area, such as communication satellites.
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