Space weather forecasting—predicting the kind of energetic particles the Sun will throw at us—is years behind weather forecsting here on Earth. As solar physicist Scott McIntosh put it, “Our current model of space weather forecasting is, ‘oh shit a sunspot happened eight minutes ago, now we have to figure out what’s…
Here comes the Sun, in all its terrifying glory.
If a solar flare really took place that close to Earth, it would mean the end of days on our little planet. But seeing that flare erupt right next to us sure does show us just how powerful these things really are.
Recent headlines are warning that the Earth will enter into a “mini ice age” in about 20 years because the sun is heading towards a period of very low output. Here’s why this scenario is extremely unlikely.
In photographs taken in the spectrum of visible light, the Sun’s magnetic field is invisible. But this image wasn’t taken in our familiar, visible wavelengths, which is why the Sun’s magnetic field is both apparent and beautiful.
Every 11 years or so, our sun suddenly becomes a much busier place, with sunspots, flares, and all manner of activity bursting from its surface. But, although the results are clear enough, no one was quite sure why. Now, researchers think they've finally find an answer to this 4-centuries old scientific mystery.
When you stare at the sun it just looks like pain. But when the New Solar Telescope (NST) does, it can catch glimpses of truly mesmerizing solar activity, and all without going blind. Here, for example, is the most precise picture of a sunspot ever taken, in all its flaming glory. It's like a solar black hole in a…
Looks like the Sun is up to some more crazy stunts. The website Asahi Shimbun reports that the Sun may soon have four poles, according to research by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken Research Foundation. This, in turn, could lead to much colder temperatures on Earth... starting as soon as…
Geomagnetic storms aren't just beautiful to look at — these disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field could also be messing with your mind and body. There's a ton of evidence suggesting that geomagnetic storms can cause everything from depression to cardiac problems — and may even be influencing the stock market.
We knew that sunspots change quite rapidly from photos, but this video shows how fast this phenomenon is. The video was made from visible light frames captured by the NASA SDO's Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. [NASA Goddard Flickr]
How accurate do you expect your local weather report to be? Honestly, I'll believe their predictions up to 48 hours, but anything beyond that is pushing it. Now it looks like our ability to predict sunspots is now at that same level, giving us valuable warning time for people in space, and infrastructure on the…
Scientists have know for a while that the core of a sunspot is invariably darker than the area around it. It's also much cooler than the rest of the sun's surface. But why? New research published in Science picks apart the cause, and provides some gorgeous sunspot images in the process.
This video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory tracks five new sunspots as they twist and turn on the Sun's surface. Amazingly, all of these sunspots are bigger than the Earth and have more energy than a million nuclear bombs.
This is the clearest, most detailed image of a sunspot ever taken in visible light. These ultra-magnetic structures are thought to be crucial to potentially Earth-threatening space weather, and it's photos like these that will help us better understand the risk.
This is how a sunspot really looks, in the most detailed picture of the surface of the sun yet. Hola, Señor Sauron!
NASA channels Warhol in these ultraviolet images of the sun, posted today. The non-artistic reason for the differing color spectrums is to show off a reversed-polarity sunspot, on the left. This sunspot marks the end of another cycle of waxing and waning solar flares, meaning the sun will begin climbing towards Solar…