The Sun isn’t the only star in this galactic neighbourhood. Other stars also call this neighbourhood home. But what’s the neighbourhood’s history? What triggered the birth of all those stars?
A team of astronomers say they’ve pieced the history together and identified the trigger: a series of supernovae explosions that began about 14 million years ago.
Continue reading “Nearby Supernovae Exploded Just a few Million Years Ago, Leading to a Wave of Star Formation Around the Sun”
For the first time ever, a spacecraft has flown through the Sun’s outer atmosphere. The Parker Solar Probe passed through the out portion of the Sun’s corona in April of 2021, passing directly through streamers of solar plasma.
And by the way …. there’s video of what the spacecraft “saw.”
Continue reading “Parker Solar Probe Flies Through the Sun’s Outer Atmosphere for the First Time”
You’re looking at a 300-megapixel photo of our Sun. Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy used a specially modified telescope, taking over 150,000 individual photos and combing them into this magnificent image.
“It took about 10 hours to stack all the data, and another 3-4 hours to get it from a raw stack to the final image,” McCarthy said via email.
Continue reading “This Incredible Photo of the Sun is Made up of 150,000 Individual Photographs”
We’ve covered plenty of the Parker Solar Probe’s exploits here at UT, but it keeps breaking new records almost every month. Now, with its newest flyby, it has gotten closer to the Sun than ever before, breaking its own record from previous flybys.
Continue reading “Parker Solar Probe Hurtles Past the Sun, Making its Closest Approach so far”
Astronomers have spotted the fastest-ever asteroid orbiting Sun — and at times, it gets closer to the Sun than the planet Mercury.
Continue reading “An Asteroid has Been Discovered That Crosses Mercury’s Orbit”
The Earth’s magnetic field is an underappreciated wonder of the natural world. It protects our atmosphere, provides some of the most breathtaking scenery when it creates auroras, and allows people to navigate from one side of the world to the other. Unfortunately, it won’t be able to save us from the death of the Sun though. At least that’s the finding of some new research by Dr. Dimitri Veras of the University of Warwick and Dr. Aline Vidotto of Trinity College Dublin.
Continue reading “When the Sun Dies, Earth’s Magnetosphere won’t Provide Protection any More”
Scientists have found the unmistakable presence of certain isotopes in an iron meteorite. Since these meteorites are thought to leftover bits of planetary cores, similar isotopes must be in the Earth’s own core. And the only place to get those isotopes is from the solar wind.
Continue reading “There are Particles of 4.5 Billion-Year-old Solar Wind Trapped Inside the Earth”
For the first time astronomers have observed waves of magnetic energy, known as Alfvén waves, in the photosphere of the sun. This discovery may help explain why the solar corona is so much hotter than the surface.
Continue reading “Astronomers Confirm the Existence of Magnetic Waves in the Sun’s Photosphere”
Sometimes the sun spits out high-energy particles which slam into the Earth, potentially disrupting our sensitive electronics. New research has found that these particles originate in the plasma of the sun itself, and are trapped there by strong magnetic fields. When those fields weaken, the particles blast out.
Continue reading “Researchers Discover the Source of the Sun’s Most Dangerous High-Energy Particles”
Solar physicists have been having a field day of late. A variety of missions have been staring at the sun more intently ever before (please don’t try it at home). From the Parker Solar Probe to the Solar Orbiter, we are constantly collecting more and more data about our stellar neighbor. But it’s not just the big name missions that can collect useful data – sometimes information from missions as simple as a sounding rocket make all the difference.
That was the case for a group of scientists focused on the Sun’s chromosphere, the part of the suns’ atmosphere between the photosphere and the corona that is one of the least understood parts of the star. Now, with data collected from three different missions simultaneously, humanity has its first layered view of how the sun’s magnetic field works in this underexplored zone.
Continue reading “Space Missions are Building Up a Detailed Map of the Sun’s Magnetic Field”