The History of the Sun is Written on the Moon

A 300 megapixel photo of our Sun, taken by using a specially modified telescope, compiling over 150,000 individual images. Credit and copyright: Andrew McCarthy.

If you want to learn about the history of the Sun, then look no further than the Moon. That’s the recommendation of a team of scientists who hope to harness future Artemis lunar missions to help understand the life history of our home star.

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Solar Orbiter was hit by a Coronal Mass Ejection as it was About to Make a Flyby of Venus

Massive solar storms on the Sun are becoming more common as it moves into a period of increasing solar activity as part of Solar Cycle 25, which is expected to peak in 2025. There’s one spacecraft that will be very well placed to capture that increasing activity. Solar Orbiter is currently 25% of the way through its ten-year mission of observing the Sun. By 2025 it will be closer than ever to our parent star, and it has already started observing some fantastic phenomena from our Sun.

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Insanely High-Resolution Images of the Sun Show its Chromosphere in Vivid Detail

The first images of the chromosphere – the area of the Sun’s atmosphere above the surface – taken with the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on June 3rd, 2022. Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF.

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.

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Astronomers Watched a “Near-Sun” Comet Disintegrate as it Flew too Close to the Sun

Near-Sun object 323P/SOHO observed by the Subaru Telescope on December 21, 2020 (left) and CFHT on February 11, 2021 (right). 323P/SOHO on its way to perihelion is seen as a point source in the center of the left image; after the perihelion, the comet has developed a long narrow tail as seen in the right image. (Credit: Subaru Telescope/CFHT/Man-To Hui/David Tholen)

Comets that venture close to the Sun can transform into something beautiful, but sometimes they encounter incineration if they get too close. Of the various types of comets that orbit close to the Sun, astronomers had never seen the destruction of the type classified as “near-Sun” comets. But thanks to a variety of telescopes on summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai?i, scientists have now captured images of a periodic rocky near-Sun comet breaking apart. They say the disintegration of this comet could help explain the scarcity of such periodic near-Sun comets.

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Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping

This is one of the new images of the Sun from the ESA's Solar Orbiter's closest approach on March 26th, 2022. Image Credit: ESA

On March 26th, the ESA’s Solar Orbiter made its closest approach to the Sun so far. It ventured inside Mercury’s orbit and was about one-third the distance from Earth to the Sun. It was hot but worth it.

The Solar Orbiter’s primary mission is to understand the connection between the Sun and its heliosphere, and new images from the close approach are helping build that understanding.

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40 Telescopes Watched the Sun as the Parker Solar Probe Made its Most Recent Flyby

Sometimes in space, even when you’re millions of kilometers from anything, you’re still being watched.  Or at least that’s the case for the Parker Solar Probe, which completed the 11th perihelion of its 24 perihelion journey on February 25th.  While the probe was speeding past the Sun, it was being watched by over 40 space and ground-based telescopes.

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Coronal Loops Might Not Be Loops At All

Coronal loops in the Sun's atmosphere
Coronal loops in the Sun's atmosphere

We’ve all seen the gorgeous images and videos of coronal loops. They’re curved magnetic forms that force brightly glowing plasma to travel along their path. They arch up above the Sun, sometimes for thousands of kilometres, before reconnecting with the Sun again.

But a new study says that some of what we’re seeing aren’t loops at all. Instead, they’re a type of optical illusion. Do we know the Sun as well as we think we do?

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A Colossal Flare Erupted From the Far Side of the Sun

Solar Orbiter captures giant solar eruption on February 15, 2022. Credit: ESA/NASA

Earlier this week the Sun erupted with a huge explosion, blasting solar particles millions of kilometers into space. The team for the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft says the blast is the largest solar prominence eruption ever observed in a single image together with the full solar disc.

Luckily for us here on Earth, the eruption on February 15, 2022 occurred on the farside of the Sun, the side facing away from our planet. But ESA and NASA predict geomagnetic storms are possible in the next few days as the active region on the Sun responsible for the blast turns toward us.

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Latest Hubble Image Shows the Star-Forming Chamaeleon Cloud

This is a Hubble composite image of the Chamaeleon I cloud complex. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Luhman and T. Esplin (Pennsylvania State University), et al., and ESO; Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

Stars form inside vast collections of molecular hydrogen called molecular clouds, sometimes called stellar nurseries or star forming regions. Instabilities in the clouds cause gas to collapse in on itself, and when enough material gathers and the density reaches a critical stage, a star begins its life of fusion.

But molecular clouds aren’t always alone. They often exist in association with other clouds, and astronomers call these formations Cloud Complexes. The Chamaeleon Cloud Complex (CCC) is one of the closest active star forming regions to Earth. It’s further divided into three substructures called dark clouds, or dark nebula. They are Chamaeleon 1 (Cha1), Chamaeleon 2, and Chamaeleon 3.

NASA created a new composite image of Chamaeleon 1 based on Hubble images, and the vivid panorama brings Chamaeleon I to life.

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