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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe recently dove deeper into the sun’s atmosphere than any spacecraft before. And it has the photos to prove it. 

Launched four months ago, the heavily-shielded probe — an exploration craft that will swoop progressively closer to the sun over the next six years — came within 16.9 million miles of the sun’s surface when it captured this orange-tinged image on November 8. 

Here, the probe was well inside the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, a difficult-to-visit place that’s still largely a mystery to astronomers. 

The dominant part of the scene is a horizontal bright streak emanating from the sun. On November 8, the probe approached this beam of energized particles, called a “coronal streamer,” that had been blasted out from our medium-sized star. Read more…

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