Parker Solar Probe isto better understand the near perfect sphere of hot plasma that powers our solar system. But back to Earth scientists looked at decades of old data, and they saw something interesting: blobs. Literal blobs.
Not just regular blobs. Big blobs. Officially called "periodic density structures", these blobs in solar wind emit from the sun in burps and they can be anything from 50 to 500 times as large as the Earth. It seems these things come out of the sun almost every 90 minutes.
"They saw blobs in lava lamps," says Nicholeen Viall, an astrophysicist at NASA / Goddard Space Center research, speaking in Space. these lava lamp-esque blobs know for decades, but now we only see them direct from the source. They are found by re-examining 45-year-old data from the German-NASA spacecraft Helios 1
The findings were published in JGR Space Physics.
Earth's magnetic field protects us greatly from the impact of these blobs, but they have the potential to interfere with our satellites and communications systems. There are many we do not know about these blobs, and one of the many reasons NASA sends Parker Solar Probe to day is to learn more about the nature of solar wind and blobs such as "periodic density structures ". Probe has recently completed the second nearby fly-by day and starts filtering data back to Earth.
"This is one of the studies that led to more questions than we answered, but perfect for Parker Solar Probe," Viall said in a statement.
Later, NASA expects the investigation will get close enough to catch the blobs immediately after its formation, directly from the sun.