New Frontier Reached: The Solar Corona

Video Player

Video Versions


Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Video imagery:
  • Animation of Parker at solar corona: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ben Smith
  • Animation illustrating solar switchbacks: NASA Goddard/CIL/Jonathan North
  • Animation of magnetic funnels and switchbacks: NASA GSFC/CIL/Jonathan North

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Emma Marcucci
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits


Objects and gases of various colors in outer space. Text, News from the Universe
December 21, 2021. New Frontier Reached: The Solar Corona
For the first time in history, a spacecraft has touched the Sun.
NASA's Parker Solar Probe has flown through the sun's upper atmosphere.
Parker sampled particles and the Sun's magnetic fields.
NASA equated it with the moon landings for Discovery via actual contact.
The close encounter provided clues to the mystery of switchbacks – zig-zag structures in the solar wind.
Switchbacks seem to be aligned with magnetic funnels on the sun's surface, between networks of convection cells.
Scientists will keep using Parker data to learn about the Sun's history and impact on the solar system, including Earth.
This news was brought to you in part by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD