Amid its Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon, India’s space agency launched another satellite and this one will study the Sun.
The spacecraft, called Aditya-L1, is bound for the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange Point, located 1.5 million km from Earth. This will give it a perfect perspective to watch the Sun, similar to NASA’s SOHO mission. It will reach its destination in about three months and then use seven instruments to observe the Sun, its atmosphere, and the solar environment.
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.
Gravitational wave astronomy is still in its early stages. So far it has focused on the most energetic and distinct sources of gravitational waves, such as the cataclysmic mergers of black holes and neutron stars. But that will change as our gravitational telescopes improve, and it will allow astronomers to explore the universe in ways previously impossible.
On April 10th, ESA’s Solar Orbiter made its closest flyby of the Sun, coming to within just 29% of the distance from the Earth to the Sun. From this vantage point, the spacecraft is performing close-up studies of our Sun and inner heliosphere. This is basically uncharted territory, as we’ve never had a spacecraft this close to the Sun.
One of the goals of the mission is to figure out why the Sun’s corona — its outer atmosphere — is so hot. The corona can reach temperatures of 2 million degrees C, vastly hotter than its 5,500 C surface. A new paper based on Solar Orbiter data, may offer some clues.
Amateur astrophotography is becoming increasingly popular among the astronomy community, as advancements in telescope and camera technologies allow individuals from all walks of life to observe the heavens in mind-blowing detail, including our own Sun, albeit with the proper protective equipment. This was recently demonstrated by Andrew McCarthy (Twitter @AJamesMcCarthy), who owns and operates Cosmic Background Studios, and is originally from Northern California but currently resides in Florence, Arizona.
You’ve probably never seen our Sun look like this before. This bizarre image of old Sol is made from data produced by three different space telescopes, each observing the Sun at a different wavelength.
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.
Future historians might look back on this time and call it the ‘exoplanet age.’ We’ve found over 5,000 exoplanets, and we’ll keep finding more. Next, we’ll move beyond just finding them, and we’ll turn our efforts to finding biosignatures, the special chemical fingerprints that living processes imprint on exoplanet atmospheres.
But there’s more to biosignatures than atmospheric chemistry. On a planet with lots of plant life, light can be a biosignature, too.
Solar coronal jets are fast moving plumes of plasma that erupt suddenly from the polar regions of the Sun. Astronomers believe that these help heat up the solar corona, but the physics behind the formation of these jets is poorly understood. Recently a team of astronomers have used observations with the Solar Dynamic Observatory and the Solar Orbiter to discover that multiple intertwining magnetic fields that connect and reconnect can power these fast moving jets.