Related Topics: Science & Technology, NASA’s MMS Mission
- NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) has captured an “interplanetary shock” on the Sun for the first time.
- The footage shows a clump of ions from the solar wind fly away from the Sun as they “bounce off” the shock.
- The charged particles can be seen flying away from the side of the Sun before spreading out into the solar system.
What is an Interplanetary Shock?
- Interplanetary shocks are a type of collisionless shock — ones where particles transfer energy through electromagnetic fields instead of directly bouncing into one another.
- These collisionless shocks are a phenomenon found throughout the universe, including in supernovae, black holes and distant stars.
- Interplanetary shocks start at the Sun, which continually releases streams of charged particles called the solar wind.
NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS)
- It was launched by NASA in 2015.
- The mission is focused on studying the magnetic environment surrounding Earth.
- MMS consists of 4 identical spacecraft that orbit around Earth through the dynamic magnetic system surrounding our planet to study ‘Magnetic reconnection’.
- MMS studies collisionless shocks around Earth to gain a greater understanding of shocks across the universe.
[Sources: NASA, Live Science]