Solar switchbacks are large deflections of the magnetic field of the solar wind

 The mechanism and sources of switchbacks are still unknown

The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has now discovered compelling evidence for the origin of these magnetic switchbacks

Solar Orbiter made the first-ever remote sensing observation consistent with a solar switchback

Providing a full view of the structure and confirming its predicted S-shaped character

The global view provided by the Solar Orbiter data suggests that these rapidly varying magnetic fields may have their origins close to the Sun

Despite the fact that many spacecraft have passed through these mysterious regions in the past

 The structure and shape of the switchback must be deduced from measurements of plasma and magnetic field properties recorded at a single location

The solar switchbacks were found to occur frequently after the launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in 2018

The phenomenon is known as switchbacks because of its perplexing behaviour

Solar Orbiter was just a day away from a close pass of the Sun, bringing it within the orbit of planet Mercury

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