Solar Astronomy

Rosetta’s Comet Already Spewing Dust, One Year Before Getting Close To The Sun

by Elizabeth Howell August 13, 2014

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter Mark your calendars, astronomy geeks: exactly one year from today, the comet the Rosetta spacecraft is chasing will make its closest approach to the Sun. As Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko draws closer to the star, the radiation pressure will cause gas, ice and […]

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ISEE-3 Completes Lunar Flyby, Begins a Citizen Science Program

by Tim Reyes August 10, 2014

The journey began on August 12, 1978 from Cape Canaveral on a Delta II launch vehicle. Now after 36 years and 30 billions miles of travel around the Sun — as well as a crowd-funded reboot of the spacecraft and a foiled attempt to put it into Earth orbit — the ISEE-3 has completed a […]

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Blast! Sun Pops Off A Moderate Solar Flare. Could Others Follow Soon?

by Elizabeth Howell July 10, 2014

With a watchful NASA spacecraft capturing its moves, the Sun sent off a “mid-level” solar flare on Tuesday (July 8) that you can watch (over and over again) in the video above. The Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the explosion around 12:20 p.m. EDT (4:20 p.m. UTC), which led into a coronal mass ejection that sent […]

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Watch the Rise and Fall of a Towering Inferno on the Sun

by Jason Major June 16, 2014

Caught on camera by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a prominence blazes hundreds of thousands of miles out from the Sun’s surface (i.e., photosphere) on May 27, 2014. The image above, seen in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, shows a brief snapshot of the event with the column of solar plasma stretching nearly as far as the distance between Earth […]

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The Sun Pops Off Two X-Class Solar Flares in One Day

by Nancy Atkinson June 10, 2014

In only a little over an hour, the Sun released two X-class solar flares today. The first occurred at 11:42 UTC (7:42 a.m. EDT) and the second blasted out at 12:52 UTC (8:52 a.m. EDT) on June 10, 2014. According to, forecasters were expecting an X-class flare today, but not two…and certainly not from […]

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