BEST ASTRONOMY

Space / Astronomy News and Articles

Fri07282017

Last update01:23:23 PM GMT

Back Solar System Solar Flare

Solar Flare

NASA's EUNIS mission: Six minutes in the life of the sun

The EUNIS team stands in front of the sounding rocket before its second launch on Nov. 6, 2007. The mission will launch again for a six-minute flight to observe the sun on December 15, 2012. (Credit: U.S. Navy)

Dec. 11, 2012 — In December, a NASA mission to study the sun will make its third launch into space for a six-minute flight to gather information about the way material roils through the sun's atmosphere, sometimes causing eruptions and ejections that travel as far as Earth. The launch of the EUNIS mission, short for Extreme Ultraviolet Normal Incidence Spectrograph, is scheduled for Dec. 15, 2012, from White Sands, N.M. aboard a Black Brant IX rocket. During its journey, EUNIS will gather a new snapshot...

'Cool' gas may form and strengthen sunspots

BestAstronomy (Jan. 31, 2012) — Hydrogen molecules may act as a kind of energy sink that strengthens the magnetic grip that causes sunspots, according to scientists from Hawaii and New Mexico using a new infrared instrument on an old telescope.

"We think that molecular hydrogen plays an important role in the formation and evolution of sunspots," said Dr. Sarah Jaeggli, a recent University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate whose doctoral research formed a key element of the new...

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory catches 'surfer' waves on the sun

— Cue the surfing music. Scientists have spotted the iconic surfer's wave rolling through the atmosphere of the sun. This makes for more than just a nice photo-op: the waves hold clues as to how energy moves through that atmosphere, known as the corona.

Since scientists know how these kinds of waves -- initiated by a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability if you're being technical -- disperse energy in the water, they can use...

— Cue the surfing music. Scientists have spotted the iconic surfer's...

Solar mystery of missing sunspots explained

— The Sun has been in the news a lot lately because it's beginning to send out more flares and solar storms. Its recent turmoil is particularly newsworthy because the Sun was very quiet for an unusually long time. Astronomers had a tough time explaining the extended solar minimum. New computer simulations imply that the Sun's long quiet spell resulted from changing flows of hot plasma within it.

"The Sun contains huge...

— The Sun has been in the news a lot lately because it's beginning...

Solar experts detect waves in giant magnetic holes the size of the UK

— Massive waves in giant magnetic holes on the surface of the Sun have been discovered for the first time by solar scientists from the University of Sheffield and Queen´s University Belfast, something that will bring experts a step closer to unlocking the secrets of the Sun.

The Sun is interwoven by a complex network of magnetic field lines that are responsible for a large variety of fascinating features that can be...

— Massive waves in giant magnetic holes on the surface of the Sun...

Solar flare: Space weather disrupts communications, threatens other technologies

— A powerful solar flare has ushered in the largest space weather storm in atleast four years and has already disrupted some ground communications on Earth, said University of Colorado Boulder Professor Daniel Baker, an internationally known space weather expert.

Classified as a Class X flare, the Feb. 15 event also spewed billions of tons of charged particles toward Earth in what are called coronal mass ejections and...

— A powerful solar flare has ushered in the largest space weather...

First ever STEREO images of the entire sun

— NASA has released the first complete view of the sun's entire surface and atmosphere.

Seeing the whole sun front and back simultaneously will enable significant advances in space weather forecasting for Earth, and improve planning for future robotic or crewed spacecraft missions throughout the solar system.

These views are the result of observations by NASA's two Solar TErrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO)...

— NASA has released the first complete view of the sun's entire...

New images show cloud exploding from Sun ripples like clouds on Earth

— Physicists, led by a researcher at the University of Warwick, studying new images of clouds of material exploding from the Sun have spotted instabilities forming in that exploding cloud that are similar to those seen in clouds in Earth's atmosphere.

These results could greatly assist physicists trying to understand and predict our Solar System's "weather."

The researchers, led by Dr Claire Foullon of the Centre for...

— Physicists, led by a researcher at the University of Warwick...

First large-scale, physics-based space weather model transitions into operation

— The first large-scale, physics-based space weather prediction model is transitioning from research into operation.

Scientists affiliated with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM) and the National Weather Service reported the news January 27 at the annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) meeting in Seattle, Wash.

The model will provide forecasters with a...

— The first large-scale, physics-based space weather prediction model...

Improved measurements of sun to advance understanding of climate change

— Scientists have taken a major step toward accurately determining the amount of energy that the sun provides to Earth, and how variations in that energy may contribute to climate change.

In a new study of laboratory and satellite data, researchers report a lower value of that energy, known as total solar irradiance, than previously measured and demonstrate that the satellite instrument that made the measurement --...

— Scientists have taken a major step toward accurately determining...

New insights into sun's photosphere

— NJIT Distinguished Professor Philip R. Goode and the research team at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) have reported new insights into the small-scale dynamics of the Sun's photosphere.

The observations were made during a period of historic inactivity on the Sun and reported in The Astrophysical Journal. The high-resolution capabilities of BBSO's new 1.6-meter aperture solar telescope have made such work possible.

"T...

— NJIT Distinguished Professor Philip R. Goode and the research...

Longstanding mystery of Sun's hot outer atmosphere solved

— One of the most enduring mysteries in solar physics is why the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, is millions of degrees hotter than its surface.

Now scientists believe they have discovered a major source of hot gas that replenishes the corona: jets of plasma shooting up from just above the Sun's surface.

The finding addresses a fundamental question in astrophysics: how energy is moved from the Sun's interior to...

— One of the most enduring mysteries in solar physics is why the...

Surprising flares in crab nebula

— The Crab Nebula, one of our best-known and most stable neighbors in the winter sky, is shocking scientists with a propensity for fireworks -- gamma-ray flares set off by the most energetic particles ever traced to a specific astronomical object. The discovery, reported by scientists working with two orbiting telescopes, is leading researchers to rethink their ideas of how cosmic particles are accelerated.

"We were...

— The Crab Nebula, one of our best-known and most stable neighbors...

Solar research instrument 'fills the gap,' views sun's innermost corona

— During a total eclipse of the Sun, skywatchers are awed by the shimmering corona -- a faint glow that surrounds the Sun like gossamer flower petals. This outer layer of the Sun's atmosphere is, paradoxically, hotter than the Sun's surface, but so tenuous that its light is overwhelmed by the much brighter solar disk. The corona becomes visible only when the Sun is blocked, which happens for just a few minutes during ...

— During a total eclipse of the Sun, skywatchers are awed by the...

European Space Agency makes the Sun available to everyone

— New software developed by ESA makes available online to everyone, everywhere at anytime, the entire library of images from the SOHO solar and heliospheric observatory. Just download the viewer and begin exploring the Sun.

JHelioviewer is new visualisation software that enables everyone to explore the Sun. Developed as part of the ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project, it provides a desktop program that enables users to call...

— New software developed by ESA makes available online to everyone...

NASA probe sees solar wind decline en route to interstellar space

— The 33-year odyssey of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached a distant point at the edge of our solar system where there is no outward motion of solar wind.

Now hurtling toward interstellar space some 10.8 billion miles from the sun, Voyager 1 has crossed into an area where the velocity of the hot ionized gas, or plasma, emanating directly outward from the sun has slowed to zero. Scientists suspect the solar wind...

— The 33-year odyssey of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached a...

Global eruption rocks the Sun: Scientists re-evaluate ideas about solar storms

— On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big.

It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity.

"The August 1st event really opened our eyes," says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and...

— On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted...

Dark matter could transfer energy in the Sun

— Researchers from the Institute for Corpuscular Physics (IFIC) and other European groups have studied the effects of the presence of dark matter in the Sun. According to their calculations, low mass dark matter particles could be transferring energy from the core to the external parts of the Sun, which would affect the quantity of neutrinos that reach Earth.

"We assume that the dark matter particles interact weakly...

— Researchers from the Institute for Corpuscular Physics (IFIC) and...

Sensor on Mars rover to measure radiation environment

— About eight months before the NASA rover Curiosity touches down on Mars in August 2012, the mission's science measurements will begin much closer to Earth.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission's Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, will monitor naturally occurring radiation that can be unhealthful if absorbed by living organisms. It will do so on the surface of Mars, where there has never before been such an...

— About eight months before the NASA rover Curiosity touches down on Mars...

Coronal mass ejections: Scientists unlock the secrets of exploding plasma clouds on the Sun

— The Sun sporadically expels trillions of tons of million-degree hydrogen gas in explosions called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Such clouds are enormous in size (spanning millions of miles) and are made up of magnetized plasma gases, so hot that hydrogen atoms are ionized. CMEs are rapidly accelerated by magnetic forces to speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second to upwards of 2,000 kilometers per second in ...

— The Sun sporadically expels trillions of tons of million-degree...

NASA extends TIMED mission for fourth time

— Nine years after beginning its unprecedented look at the gateway between Earth's environment and space, not to mention collecting more data on the upper atmosphere than any other satellite, NASA's Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission has been extended again.

Before the launch of TIMED, the mesosphere and lower thermosphere/ionosphere -- which help protect us from harmful solar...

— Nine years after beginning its unprecedented look at the gateway...