All about NASA Parker Solar Probe's latest encounter with the Sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe made its 14th close encounter, out of 24th, with the Sun on December 6, 2023. Notably, it came within 5.3 million miles of the surface of the Sun.  (NASA)

The closest approach is called perihelion, which occured on December 11 at 8:16 a.m. EST, during which the spacecraft travelled at 364,639 miles per hour. (NASA)

The spacecraft travelled fast enough to fly from New York to Tokyo in just over a minute.  (NASA)

This was just under Parker Solar Probe's record speed of 364,660 mph, set on November 21, 2021.  (NASA)

During the previous close encounter of spacecraft with the Sun on September 5, it flew through one of the most powerful coronal mass ejections in recorded history. (NASA)

 Importantly, the Sun’s activity continues to increase on its approach toward solar maximum, the period of greatest activity during the Sun’s 11-year cycle.  (NASA)

Scientists and experts have said that the Parker Probe flew through and observed more exciting phenomena from its unprecedented vantage point. (NASA)

 “It’s a very exciting time to have a spacecraft flying so close to the Sun and observing its activity,” said Nour Raouafi, Parker Solar Probe project scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. (NASA)

The spacecraft had entered the encounter in good health and with all systems operating normally.  (NASA)

 Parker Solar Probe was developed as part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. (NASA)

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