Parker Solar Probe: Four Years of Discoveries at Solar Cycle Minimum

N. E. Raouafi, L. Matteini, J. Squire, S. T. Badman, M. Velli, K. G. Klein, C. H.K. Chen, W. H. Matthaeus, A. Szabo, M. Linton, R. C. Allen, J. R. Szalay, R. Bruno, R. B. Decker, M. Akhavan-Tafti, O. V. Agapitov, S. D. Bale, R. Bandyopadhyay, K. Battams, L. BerčičS. Bourouaine, T. A. Bowen, C. Cattell, B. D.G. Chandran, R. Chhiber, C. M.S. Cohen, R. D’Amicis, J. Giacalone, P. Hess, R. A. Howard, T. S. Horbury, V. K. Jagarlamudi, C. J. Joyce, J. C. Kasper, J. Kinnison, R. Laker, P. Liewer, D. M. Malaspina, I. Mann, D. J. McComas, T. Niembro-Hernandez, T. Nieves-Chinchilla, O. Panasenco, P. Pokorný, A. Pusack, M. Pulupa, J. C. Perez, P. Riley, A. P. Rouillard, C. Shi, G. Stenborg, A. Tenerani, J. L. Verniero, N. Viall, A. Vourlidas, B. E. Wood, L. D. Woodham, T. Woolley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Launched on 12 Aug. 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe had completed 13 of its scheduled 24 orbits around the Sun by Nov. 2022. The mission’s primary science goal is to determine the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s coronal magnetic field, understand how the solar corona and wind are heated and accelerated, and determine what processes accelerate energetic particles. Parker Solar Probe returned a treasure trove of science data that far exceeded quality, significance, and quantity expectations, leading to a significant number of discoveries reported in nearly 700 peer-reviewed publications. The first four years of the 7-year primary mission duration have been mostly during solar minimum conditions with few major solar events. Starting with orbit 8 (i.e., 28 Apr. 2021), Parker flew through the magnetically dominated corona, i.e., sub-Alfvénic solar wind, which is one of the mission’s primary objectives. In this paper, we present an overview of the scientific advances made mainly during the first four years of the Parker Solar Probe mission, which go well beyond the three science objectives that are: (1) Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind; (2) Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind; and (3) Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Corona
  • Coronal mass ejections
  • Magnetic fields
  • Parker solar probe
  • Plasma
  • Solar wind
  • Sun


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