The Sun is such a stable presence in our lives that we often take it for granted. Few things are as certain sure as the rising of the Sun each morning, and the cycles of the seasons mark the years of our lives. But the Sun is a star, and stars can sometimes be unpredictable. They can emit powerful solar flares and powerful X-rays. With our deep dependence on technology and electricity, the Sun poses a small but real risk to our civilization. As a recent study shows, the Sun has had some extremely powerful flares in recent cosmic times.Continue reading “A Monster Solar Storm Struck Earth 14,300 Years Ago”
Our Sun continues to demonstrate its awesome power in a breathtaking collection of recent images taken by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Daniel Inouye Solar Telescope, aka Inouye Solar Telescope, which is the world’s largest and most powerful ground-based solar telescope. These images, taken by one of Inouye’s first-generation instruments, the Visible-Broadband Imager (VBI), show our Sun in incredible, up-close detail.Continue reading “New Detailed Images of the Sun from the World’s Most Powerful Ground-Based Solar Telescope”
We’ve touched on the hazards of solar storms plenty of times in the past. We’ve also recently started reporting even more stories involving some sort of AI, especially in the last few months since it has come back to the forefront of many discussions around technologies. So it should come as no surprise that a team at NASA has been busily applying AI models to solar storm data to develop an early warning system that they think could give the planet about 30 minutes notice before a potentially devastating solar storm hits a particular area.Continue reading “NASA Thinks They Can Give us 30 Minutes of Warning Before a Killer Solar Storm Hits Earth”
The Sun belted out strong solar flares two days in a row, as activity ramps up toward the next Solar Maximum, predicted for mid-2025.
On Saturday, February 11, a flare classified as X1.1 erupted from the Sun, while just a day before a different region on the Sun blasted out a X1.0 flare.Continue reading “The Sun Continues its Journey to Solar Maximum, Releasing X-Class Flares”
Using data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, scientists have discovered new clues that could help predict when and where the next solar flare might blast from the Sun.
Researchers were able to identify small flashes in the upper layers of the corona – the Sun’s atmosphere – found above regions that would later flare in energetic bursts of light and particles released from the Sun. The scientists compared the flashes to small sparklers before the big fireworks.Continue reading “Astronomers See Flashes on the Sun That Could be a Sign of an Upcoming Flare”
New images of the Sun’s chromosphere – the lower region of the solar atmosphere — have been released, and to say they are ‘stellar’ is an understatement. Simply, they are stunning. The high-resolution images were taken with the now-fully-operational Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, located on the summit of Haleakala, Maui, in Hawai‘i. Scientists say the new observatory — with its large 4-meter (13-ft) primary mirror — will enable a new era of solar science, and provide a leap forward in understanding the Sun and its impacts on our planet.Continue reading “Insanely High-Resolution Images of the Sun Show its Chromosphere in Vivid Detail”
In 1982, author James Michener published his sprawling Space Race novel, Space. In it, he describes a fictional Apollo 18 mission to the Moon. While the astronauts are on the surface, the Sun unleashes a huge storm, trapping them outside of their protective capsule. The two men get blasted by lethal amounts of radiation before they can get to safety.Continue reading “What’s Being Done to Protect Astronauts From Radiation in Deep Space?”
One of the beauties of modern-day space telescopes is that the data they produce, which is eventually wholly released to the public, contains useful information about much more than their primary mission objective. Other astronomers can then sift through the data using their own ideas, and in many cases, their own algorithms. Recently, a team from Poland turned a flare-searching algorithm on TESS’s planet-hunting data, and found an astonishing 25,229 stars with solar flares in the data set.Continue reading “Not Just a Planet Hunter. TESS Found Over 25,000 Flaring Stars”
Sunspots are typically no real reason to worry, even if they double in size overnight and grow to twice the size of the Earth itself. That’s just what happened with Active Region 3038 (AR3038), a sunspot that happens to be facing Earth and could produce some minor solar flares. While there’s no cause for concern, that does mean a potentially exciting event could happen – spectacular auroras.Continue reading “Giant Sunspot AR3038 has Doubled in Size and is Pointed Right at Earth. Could be Auroras Coming”
Solar flares are complex phenomena. They involve plasma, electromagnetic radiation across all wavelengths, activity in the Sun’s atmosphere layers, and particles travelling at near light speed. Spacecraft like NASA’s Solar and Heliophysics Observatory (SOHO) and the Parker Solar Probe shed new light on the Sun’s solar flares.
But it was a Japanese-led mission called Yohkoh that spotted an unusual solar flare in 1999. This flare displayed a downward flowing motion toward the Sun along with the normal outward flow. What caused it?
A team of researchers think they’ve figured it out.Continue reading “During a Solar Flare, Dark Voids Move Down Towards the Sun. Now We Know Why”