Recently, the joint European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft discovered an array of tiny jets of material being ejected from the Sun’s outer atmosphere. Ejecting plasma at 100 kilometers per second, the jets last for just 20 to 100 seconds, and could be the source of solar wind.
Solar wind is made up of plasma, or charged particles, that continuously flow away from the Sun. As solar wind moves farther and farther from the Sun, it will collide with anything in its path, such as Earth’s magnetic field, which — in turn — creates the famous aurora borealis. Scientists have long theorized how solar wind is created, but have never been able to confirm their ideas. However, Solar Orbiter’s recent findings may finally provide scientists with the answer they’ve been searching for for decades.