Sun

Sun News -- ScienceDaily News about the Sun. Science articles on Sunspots and the Sun's Corona; evidence the Sun has a companion star; images from the far side of the Sun and more.

  • NASA's MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted magnetic tail
    on October 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Mars has an invisible magnetic 'tail' that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. […]

  • New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
    on October 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life. […]

  • A solar flare recorded from Spain in 1886
    on October 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Satellites have detected powerful solar flares in the last two months, but this phenomenon has been recorded for over a century. On Sept. 10, 1886, at the age of just 17, a young amateur astronomer using a modest telescope observed from Madrid one of these sudden flashes in a sunspot. […]

  • Scientists dig into the origin of organics on dwarf planet Ceres
    on October 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Since NASA's Dawn spacecraft detected localized organic-rich material on Ceres, scientists have been digging into the data to explore different scenarios for its origin. After considering the viability of comet or asteroid delivery, the preponderance of evidence suggests the organics are most likely native to Ceres. […]

  • Solar eruptions could electrify Martian moons
    on October 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos. […]

  • How scientists used NASA data to predict the corona of the Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse
    on October 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    When the total solar eclipse swept across the United States on Aug. 21, 2017, NASA satellites captured a diverse set of images from space. But days before the eclipse, some NASA satellites also enabled scientists to predict what the corona -- the Sun's outer atmosphere -- would look like during the eclipse, from the ground. In addition to offering a case study to test our predictive abilities, the predictions also enabled some eclipse scientists to choose their study targets in advance. […]

  • Solar research: NASA sounding rocket instrument spots signatures of long-sought small solar flares
    on October 13, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Like most solar sounding rockets, the second flight of the FOXSI instrument -- short for Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager -- lasted 15 minutes, with just six minutes of data collection. But in that short time, the cutting-edge instrument found the best evidence to date of a phenomenon scientists have been seeking for years: signatures of tiny solar flares that could help explain the mysterious extreme heating of the Sun's outer atmosphere. […]

  • Solar research: On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves
    on October 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Combining computer observations and simulations, a new model shows that the presence of neutrals in the gas facilitates the magnetic fields to penetrate through the surface of the Sun producing the spicules. […]

  • Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration
    on October 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    While it's true that space radiation is one of the biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars, it's also true that NASA is developing technologies and countermeasures to ensure a safe and successful journey to the red planet. […]

  • Satellites map photosynthesis at high resolution
    on October 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Life on Earth is impossible without photosynthesis. It provides food and oxygen to all higher life forms and plays an important role in the climate system, since this process regulates the uptake of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and its fixation in biomass. However, quantification of photosynthesis at the ecosystem-to-global scale remains uncertain. Now an international team of scientists have made a major step forward. […]

  • Measurement promises complete picture of Milky Way
    on October 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Distance measured out to the far side of our Milky Way means that radio astronomers now can work on producing an accurate map of the full extent of our galaxy's structure for the first time. […]

  • Haumea, the most peculiar of Pluto companions, has a ring around it
    on October 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    The trans-neptunian belt contains four dwarf planets, among which Haumea stands out for its extremely elongated shape and rapid rotation. A stellar occultation makes it possible to establish the main physical characteristics of this previously little known body -- among which most surprising was the presence of a ring. […]

  • Giant exoplanet hunters: Look for debris disks
    on October 11, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    There's no map showing all the billions of exoplanets hiding in our galaxy -- they're so distant and faint compared to their stars, it's hard to find them. Now, astronomers hunting for new worlds have established a possible signpost for giant exoplanets. […]

  • Remote sensing for cosmic dust and other celestial bodies
    on October 11, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Astronomers review the state-of-the-art in polarimetry studies of the small bodies in our solar system. Combined with different observational techniques, polarimetry may be used as a remote sensing technique to measure asteroids' size, to reveal the composition and size variation of dust in comets or of aerosols in planetary atmospheres, or even to detect extra-terrestrial biomarkers. […]

  • The super-Earth that came home for dinner
    on October 4, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    It might be lingering bashfully on the icy outer edges of our solar system, hiding in the dark, but subtly pulling strings behind the scenes: stretching out the orbits of distant bodies, perhaps even tilting the entire solar system to one side. It is a possible "Planet Nine" -- a world perhaps 10 times the mass of Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune. […]

  • Extreme magnetic storm: Red aurora over Kyoto in 1770
    on October 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Researchers used historic accounts of a rare red aurora over Kyoto, Japan, in the 18th century to support calculations of the strength of the associated magnetic storm. The September 1770 storm could be 3-10% stronger than the September 1859 storm, the greatest storm in the past 200 years. The research provides insights that could assist preparation for an unlikely, but possible, future intense magnetic storm. […]

  • Solar observer created key sunspot record
    on October 2, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Few people have heard of Hisako Koyama, but the dedicated female solar observer, born in Tokyo in 1916, created one of the most important sunspot records of the past 400 years. […]

  • Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere
    on September 29, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers. […]

  • Farthest active inbound comet yet seen
    on September 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at a whopping distance of 1.5 billion miles from the Sun (beyond Saturn's orbit). Slightly warmed by the remote Sun, it has already begun to develop an 80,000-mile-wide fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, enveloping a tiny, solid nucleus of frozen gas and dust. These observations represent the earliest signs of activity ever seen from a comet entering the solar system's planetary zone for the first time. […]

  • It takes the right amount of carbon
    on September 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Researchers have created a model that sheds new light on the formation of terrestrial planets and Earth. […]

  • Total solar eclipse viewed from space
    on September 27, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    While people across the nation gazed at August's total solar eclipse from Earth, a bread loaf-sized NASA satellite had a front row seat for the astronomical event. […]

  • A record number of Americans viewed the 2017 solar eclipse
    on September 26, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Eighty-eight percent of American adults viewed the August total solar eclipse directly or electronically. This audience of 215 million adults is nearly twice the size of the viewership of recent Super Bowl football games. […]

  • Near-Earth asteroid CubeSat goes full sail
    on September 26, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, a small satellite the size of a shoebox, designed to study asteroids close to Earth, recently performed a full-scale solar sail deployment test. The test was performed in an indoor clean room to ensure the deployment mechanism's functionality after recent environmental testing. […]

  • Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation
    on September 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Charged particles may be small, but they matter to astronauts. NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is investigating these particles to solve one of its biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars: space radiation and its effects on the human body. […]

  • Solar eruption ‘photobombed’ Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring
    on September 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometers from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the Martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years. […]

  • Unique type of object discovered in our solar system
    on September 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet. […]

  • New concept of terrestrial planet formation
    on September 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Scientists are proposing a new way of understanding the cooling and transfer of heat from terrestrial planetary interiors and how that affects the generation of the volcanic terrains that dominate the rocky planets. […]

  • Space radiation is risky business for the human body
    on September 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is working to protect the whole human body from radiation in space. Space radiation is dangerous and one of the primary health risks for astronauts. Virtually any cell in the body is susceptible to radiation damage. […]

  • Mercury's poles may be icier than scientists thought
    on September 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    A new study identifies three large surface ice deposits near Mercury's north pole, and suggests there could be many additional small-scale deposits that would dramatically increase the planet's surface ice inventory. […]

  • Nanosat fleet proposed for voyage to 300 asteroids
    on September 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    A fleet of tiny spacecraft could visit over 300 asteroids in just over three years, according to a mission study. The Asteroid Touring Nanosat Fleet concept comprises 50 spacecraft propelled by innovative electric solar wind sails (E-sails) and equipped with instruments to take images and collect spectroscopic data on the composition of the asteroids. Each nanosat would visit six or seven asteroids before returning to Earth to deliver the data. […]