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Posts tagged sun

There’s a Hole in the Sun!

During the latter part of last week, a huge void rotated across the face of the sun. But never fear, it isn’t a sign of the “End Times” or some weird sci-fi stellar malnourishment, this particular hole is a coronal hole. Though it may be a well-known phenomenon, it is noteworthy — it’s the largest coronal hole to be observed in the sun’s atmosphere for over a year. Read more

Sun Unleashes THREE Record X-Class Flares

The weekend ended with the biggest solar flare of the year — an X-class flare measuring X1.7. X-class flares are the most energetic type of flare, but an X1.7 is at the lower end of that scale. Obviously disappointed by its 2013 personal best, the sun let rip with not one, but TWO more X-class flares within 24 hours, each bigger than the last.

The X1.7 erupted at 9:17 p.m. EST (Sunday), and then a X2.8 followed-up at 11:09 a.m. EST (Monday). Then, the biggest flare completed the hat-trick at 8:17 p.m. EST with a new 2013 record of X3.2. The largest flare of the day is nearly 3 times more energetic than the first X1.7 flare.

Curiosity, Interrupted: Sun Makes Mars Go Dark

NASA has stopped sending commands to Mars rover Curiosity and will soon follow suit for rover Opportunity, Odyssey and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). But don’t worry, government cutbacks haven’t severed interplanetary communications, you can blame the sun. Read more.

Simmering Solar Views from SDO

Three years ago, on Feb. 11, 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched into orbit to begin its solar odyssey. Intended to give us the most high-definition view of the sun to date, the SDO has transformed our understanding of our nearest star. Browse our celebratory gallery

At 11:12 UT (6:12 a.m. EST), the world didn’t end (as far as I can tell), but it was a significant time none-the-less … The ever-watchful NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the time of solstice from orbit. Although the SDO is always imaging the sun through a multitude of filters, this is a great excuse to showcase the fantastic beauty of our nearest star, while putting all the doomsday nonsense behind us.

Chance of Thanksgiving Day Solar Flare, Aurorae?

It seems likely that AR1618 flare activity will continue through Thanksgiving, and if you live at high latitudes, you may be lucky enough to see some Thanksgiving Day aurorae. The sun is currently bathing our planet in a moderate-speed stream of solar wind. Although a full-blown geomagnetic storm isn’t expected, there’s a chance of some heightened auroral activity near the Arctic Circle.

Read more

Giant Sun Eruption Captured in NASA Video: The sun unleashed a monster eruption of super-hot plasma Friday (Nov. 16) in back-to-back solar storms captured on camera by a NASA spacecraft.

Voyager 1 Detects Weirdness at Solar System Edge

She may be old, but you can’t keep a good probe down.

Voyager 1 is the most distant man-made object and is thought to have recently escaped the sun’s sphere of influence. The probe, launched 35 years ago, is therefore mankind’s first interstellar vehicle careening into the vast expanse of space between the stars.

Every minute we learn more about the unknown…


“Solar wind is a flow of particles continually flowing away from the sun,” says Nick Collins at The Telegraph. Earth’s magnetic field typically deflects these particles away, but the moon doesn’t have the same kind of protection. Solar wind “whacks into the lunar surface” at approximately a million miles per hour, often carrying hydrogen with it, says AFP.

The impact is “so brutal” that the sun’s gust diminishes the moon’s mass by a million tons per hour. Although it’s unclear exactly how the next step happens, the foreign hydrogen then combines with the moon’s oxygen to form hydroxyls, or tiny glassy, bead-like compounds comprised of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom, says Irene Klotz at Discovery NewsThese hydroxyls, which Liu and his team discovered using new soil analysis techniques, get stored in the soil and are just one hydrogen atom away from becoming water. 

Where did the water on the moon come from?

So they’re saying the moon is blown away by how powerful the sun is? *snicker* *chortle*

The life cycle of a moth or butterfly are fairly commonly known, but the life cycle of a star… probably not…

"Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it."

— Ferris Beuller

Sun Dogs, Halos and Double Rainbows

As sunlight scatters through ice crystals and raindrops it produces brilliant displays that can make a gray day glorious. The following slideshow captures beautiful moments of atmospheric phenomena.

Learn about the sun, rainbows and how light splits in these beautiful photos.

more photos…

Our moon photo-bombed the sun, yo.

what a thug.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Earth Eclipses View of Solar Dynamic Observatory

While this video is from 2007, it’s fall eclipse season! This is the time of year when Earth passes in from of the Solar Dynamic Observatory, eclipsing the sun from its vantage point.

I had a conversation with a friend today about why NASA (and space exploration in general) is good. She didn’t think it was worth the money and would rather spend their brains and budget on world hunger or other worthy causes. I pointed her to a number of reasons why space exploration helps the people of Earth.

That black shadow in the video above is our moon moving in the way of the sun. How is that not worth less than a penny per tax dollar?

For most people the most important reason isn’t monetary, scientific, or political.

Space-exploration just plain inspires people, worldwide.

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