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Eugene Parker, US astrophysicist

Eugene Parker, US astrophysicist


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Eugene Parker (born 1927), US astrophysicist, with an image of the probe named after him in the background. In the 1950s Parker developed a number of theories about the release of energy from stars, including our Sun. He named the stream of energy the solar wind and described the magnetic fields, plasmas and particles that constitute it. Although questioned at the time, satellite observations made in the 1960s upheld Parker's models. He has also studied the solar corona (atmosphere) and theorised that nanoflares (small solar explosions) heat the corona, making it hotter than the surface of the Sun itself. NASA has named the Parker Solar Probe mission after the astrophysicist, the first time a mission has been named for a living person. The probe, launched on 12 August 2018, will provide insight on Parker's theories. Photographed on 9 August 2018, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA, at a pre-launch mission briefing about the Parker Solar Probe.

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