Exploring the near-Sun environment and first observations of Parker Solar Probe 
Convener: Volker Bothmer  | Co-conveners: Nour Eddine Raouafi , Alexis P. Rouillard , Marco Velli 
The Sun’s corona is the birthplace of the solar wind, coronal mass ejections and solar energetic particles which all are fundamental drivers of space weather. The key physical processes at the origin of these phenomena (i.e., heating and acceleration of the coronal plasma) have not been clarified to date. After the successful launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission on August 12, 2018, the spacecraft will gradually reduce its distance to the Sun over the next years using seven Venus gravity assists and will reach a distance of less than 10 solar radii in 2024. Combining the PSP observations with data from the upcoming ESA Solar Orbiter mission, with remote sensing observations from SDO, STEREO and Proba2, with other in-situ data, e.g., from ACE and DSCOVR, with ground-based observations and with theoretical models will be a challenging and exciting task to help unravel unanswered science questions about the physics of the corona, solar wind and energetic particles. At times of the EGU General Assembly in early April 2019, PSP will have completed its first perihelion around the Sun end of 2018, with an unprecedented distance of 35 solar radii, and will just be beyond its 2nd perihelion. This session invites oral and poster contributions on all aspects of research addressed to the exploration of our near-Sun environment, including first observations from PSP and in preparation of the upcoming SO mission.