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Illustration of the Parker Solar Probe in front of the Sun. Photo: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

A new series of studies based on data beamed back from the Sun-studying Parker Solar Probe could help scientists better predict dangerous space weather.

Why it matters: Streams of charged particles sent out by the Sun create space weather that can affect satellites, electrical grids on Earth and even people in orbit.

  • By learning more about how space weather works, scientists could craft better predictions and keep assets in space and on Earth safer.

Details: A new study published last week as part of a Parker Solar Probe-focused package in the journal Nature is shedding light on why the Sun's atmosphere gets hotter as you move farther from the star's surface.

  • The probe found that strong magnetic waves — called Alfvén waves — in the solar wind near the Sun could help explain that heating.
  • "They [the waves] were organized into these individual, really powerful waves that would wash over the spacecraft," one of the study's authors Justin Kasper, of the University of Michigan, told Axios.
  • While these types of waves have been seen in the solar wind before, finding them organized in such a way was surprising and could help unravel the mystery of the Sun's hot atmosphere with more data.

What's next: The Parker Solar Probe is expected to make 21 more close flybys of the Sun, three of which will bring it just 3.83 million miles from the star's surface, closer than any spacecraft has been before.

  • Mission managers are also gearing up for the probe to make a flyby of Venus this month, giving researchers a new look at the cloud-covered world from relatively close range.
  • Scientists will use the data already gathered by the probe to add more information into models that explain how the solar wind and stellar atmosphere work.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon warns of ISIS-K capabilities outside Afghanistan

The site of an airstrike conducted by the U.S. against a planner for ISIS-K in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan in August. Photo: Xinhua via Getty Images

U.S. intelligence believes ISIS-K has the "intent" to eventually launch attacks outside of Afghanistan and could be capable of doing so "somewhere between six or 12 months," a top Pentagon official told senators Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has raised fears that terrorist groups will reconstitute and potentially pose a renewed threat to the U.S. homeland.

Exclusive: Billionaires back new media firm to combat disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new public benefit corporation backed by billionaires Reid Hoffman, George Soros, and others is launching Tuesday to fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation.

Why it matters: Good Information Inc. aims to fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Sequoia Capital just blew up the VC fund model

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sequoia Capital, one of the world's oldest and most successful venture capital firms, is forming a single fund to hold all of its U.S. and European investments, including stakes in publicly-traded companies, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Venture capital is the money of innovation, but the industry itself rarely innovates. This is a radical exception.