Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Education

Aurora | Health Effects| Irradiance| Magnetic Fields and Waves| Parker Solar Probe| Plasma| Solar Cycles|Solar Flares, Errupting Filaments & CMEs| Solar Observation| Solar Prominences| Solar Wind| Space Weather| Spectroscopy| Sunspots

Solar News

Aurora [See also Solar Wind]

06/07/2021: Physicists report definitive evidence how auroras are created. In a new study, a team of physicists led by University of Iowa reports definitive evidence that the most brilliant auroras are produced by powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms. The phenomena, known as Alfven waves, accelerate electrons toward Earth, causing the particles to produce the familiar atmospheric light show.

01/25/19: Surprising Explanation for Differences in Southern and Northern Lights. For many years, scientists assumed the aurora seen around the north pole was identical to the aurora seen around the south pole. However, in 2009, scientists discovered aurora can look differently around the north pole and the south pole, including having different shapes and occurring at different locations - a phenomenon called asymmetry. Now, a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics explains how this asymmetry comes about and causes the differences in auroral displays near Earth's poles. The new research finds the differences in aurora are likely caused by squeezing of Earth's magnetotail - a magnetic tail that extends away from our planet - by the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field. [Auroras]

03/01/18: Sounding Rocket Mission Will Trace Auroral Winds. Understanding the contribution that aurora make to the total amount of energy that enters and leaves Earth’s geospace system — referred to as auroral forcing — is one of the major goals of the NASA-funded Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment, or AZURE. AZURE is the first of eight sounding rocket missions launching over the next two years as part of an international collaboration of scientists known as The Grand Challenge Initiative – Cusp.

02/14/18: Scientists directly observe electron dynamics of the Northern Lights. The shower of electrons bouncing across Earth's magnetosphere -- commonly known as the Northern Lights -- has been directly observed for the first time by an international team of scientists. While the cause of these colorful auroras has long been hypothesized, researchers had never directly observed the underlying mechanism until now.

3/13/17: New research on Northern Lights will improve satellite navigation accuracy. Researchers at the University of Bath have gained new insights into the mechanisms of the Northern Lights, providing an opportunity to develop better satellite technology that can negate outages caused by this natural phenomenon. The presence of plasma turbulence within the Northern Lights was traditionally deemed responsible for causing GNSS inaccuracies. However, this latest research found that turbulence does not exist, suggesting new, unknown mechanisms are actually responsible for outages on GNSS signals.

6/22/16: Acoustics researcher finds explanation for auroral sounds. In 2012, a research group headed by Aalto University Professor Unto K. Laine proved that the source of sounds associated with the Northern Lights is located close to the ground at an altitude of approximately 70 metres. Now, by combining his measurements with the temperature profiles measured by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Professor Laine has found an explanation for the mechanism that creates the sound.

12/21/15: Auroral mystery solved: Sudden bursts caused by swirling charged particles. A supercomputer model revealed that the rotation of plasma creates electrical currents in the near-Earth space, ultimately triggering auroral breakups. This overthrows existing theories about how auroral breakups occur.

Health Effects

09/04/2018: How UV Causes Cancer and Aging. YouTube video.

8/14/17: Cosmic Opportunity for Readiation Research at ESA. Cosmic radiation is considered the main health hazard to human spaceflight and space exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond, which is why ESA has made cosmic radiation a focus of its research programme.

Irradiance

7/12/15: Why NASA Keeps a Close Eye on the Sun's Irradiance by Adam Voiland, NASA's Earth Science News Team. Updated by Holly Zell.
For more than two centuries, scientists have wondered how much heat and light the sun expels, and whether this energy varies enough to change Earth's climate. In the absence of a good method for measuring the sun's output, the scientific conversation was often heavy with speculation.

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Magnetic Fields and Waves [see also Solar Flares, Errupting Filaments & CMEs]

04/01/2022: The Sun’s coronal loops may be an optical illusion . Some of the most spectacular features on the Sun are its coronal loops — incandescent structures of hot plasma that arc for thousands of miles above magnetically active regions of the Sun, forming what appear to be curving strands. A team of solar physicists say these iconic structures may not actually be loops at all. Instead, the loops may be an illusion rooted in a more complex structure — a magnetic sheet or curtain that is being pulled and wrinkled.

06/07/2021: Physicists report definitive evidence how auroras are created. In a new study, a team of physicists led by University of Iowa reports definitive evidence that the most brilliant auroras are produced by powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms. The phenomena, known as Alfven waves, accelerate electrons toward Earth, causing the particles to produce the familiar atmospheric light show.

06/02/2021: Wave-particle energy transfer directly observed in an ion cyclotron wave. The first studies with Parker Solar Probe (PSP) data have made significant progress toward understanding of the fundamental properties of ion cyclotron waves in the inner heliosphere.

03/06/18: 70-year-old mystery of how magnetic waves heat the Sun cracked. Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have led an international team to the ground-breaking discovery that magnetic waves crashing through the Sun may be key to heating its atmosphere and propelling the solar wind.

03/02/2021:Astrophysicist's 2004 theory confirmed: Why the Sun's composition varies. An astrophysicist theorized why the chemical composition of the Sun's tenuous outermost layer differs from that lower down. His theory has recently been validated by combined observations of the Sun's magnetic waves from the Earth and from space. [Magnetic Fields]

02/19/2021: NASA Missions Make Unprecedented Map of Sun’s Magnetic Field. Now, for the first time, a triad of NASA missions have peered into the chromosphere to return multi-height measurements of its magnetic field. The observations – captured by two satellites and the Chromospheric Layer Spectropolarimeter 2, or CLASP2 mission, aboard a small suborbital rocket – help reveal how magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface give rise to the brilliant eruptions in its outer atmosphere.

01/22/2021: Magnetic waves explain mystery of Sun's outer layer. A theory as to why the Sun’s outer atmosphere differs in its chemical make-up from its inner layers has been confirmed by direct observation for the first time by scientists at UCL and the Italian Space Agency.

12/07/2020: Scientists get the lowdown on sun’s super-hot atmosphere. Images of the sun captured by the IRIS mission show new details of how low-lying loops of plasma are energized, and may also reveal how the hot corona is created.

10/28/19: An overlooked piece of the solar dynamo puzzle. A previously unobserved mechanism is at work in the Sun’s rotating plasma: a magnetic instability, which scientists had thought was physically impossible under these conditions. The effect might even play a crucial role in the formation of the Sun’s magnetic field, say researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the University of Leeds and the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP).

06/19/18: The first experimental discovery of the propagation of plasma turbulence.Scientists applied the 'heat pulse modulation method' in the magnetic island produced intentionally in the tokamak 'Doublet III-D.' Temperature gradient inherent in the magnetically confined plasma causes turblence while there is no turbulence in the magnetic island because of the absence of the gradient. That the turbulence propagates has now been demonstrated for the first time by investigating turbulence in the magnetic island.

03/05/18: Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere Magnetohydrodynamic Alfvén waves have been a focus of laboratory plasma physics and astrophysics for over half a century. Their unique nature makes them ideal energy transporters, and while the solar atmosphere provides preferential conditions for their existence, direct detection has proved difficult as a result of their evolving and dynamic observational signatures.

02/09/18: Astrophysicists settle century-old cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars. Using one of the world's most powerful laser facilities, a team of scientists experimentally confirmed a long-held theory for cosmic magnetic field generation: the turbulent dynamo. By creating a hot turbulent plasma the size of a penny, that lasts a few billionths of a second, the researchers recorded how the turbulent motions can amplify a weak magnetic field to the strengths of those observed in our sun, distant stars, and galaxies.

01/30/18: Stellar magnetism: What's behind the most brilliant lights in the sky?. Space physicists at University of Wisconsin–Madison have just released unprecedented detail on a bizarre phenomenon that powers the northern lights, solar flares and coronal mass ejections (the biggest explosions in our solar system).The data on so-called “magnetic reconnection” came from a quartet of new spacecraft that measure radiation and magnetic fields in high Earth orbit. [Magnetic Fields]

6/22/17: Scientists Uncover Origins of the Sun’s Swirling Spicules. At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun’s surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing. These are spicules, and despite their grass-like abundance, scientists didn’t understand how they form. Now, for the first time, a computer simulation — so detailed it took a full year to run — shows how spicules form, helping scientists understand how spicules can break free of the sun’s surface and surge upward so quickly. [Magnetic Fields]

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Parker Solar Probe

Links:

12/14/2020: NASA Enters the Solar Atmosphere for the First Time. For the first time in history, a spacecraft has touched the Sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has now flown through the Sun’s upper atmosphere – the corona – and sampled particles and magnetic fields there.

07/31/18: NASA's Parker Solar Probe Countdown begins for launch of NASA mission named after UChicago Prof. Eugene Parker.

07/19/18: Traveling to the Sun: Why Won’t Parker Solar Probe Melt?. This summer, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will launch to travel closer to the Sun, deeper into the solar atmosphere, than any mission before it. Cutting-edge technology and engineering will help it beat the heat.

01/17/18: Parker Solar Probe Enters Thermal Vacuum Chamber. Parker Solar Probe is slowly lifted and carried to the top of the thermal vacuum chamber, which will simulate the airless environment of space, in addition to conducting intense hot and cold temperature testing.Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/Ed Whitman.

6/21/17: Parker Solar Probe. As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft begins its first historic encounter with the sun’s corona in late 2018—flying closer to our star than any other mission in history—a revolutionary cooling system will keep its solar arrays at peak performance, even in extremely hostile conditions. [Parker Solar Probe]

Plasma

03/12/19: Tied in knots: New insights into plasma behavior focus on twists and turns. Whether zipping through a star or a fusion device on Earth, the electrically charged particles that make up the fourth state of matter better known as plasma are bound to magnetic field lines like beads on a string. Unfortunately for plasma physicists who study this phenomenon, the magnetic field lines often lack simple shapes that equations can easily model. Often they twist and knot like pretzels. Sometimes, when the lines become particularly twisted, they snap apart and join back together, ejecting blobs of plasma and tremendous amounts of energy.

10/24/18: Nuclear fusion: wrestling with burning questions on the control of 'burning plasmas'. What would it take to meet the world's energy needs, sustainably, far into the foreseeable future? Perhaps creating energy the way the sun does, through nuclear fusion. [Plasma]

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Solar Cycles

02/25/2022: The Termination Event has Arrived. Something big just happened on the sun. Solar physicists Scott McIntosh (NCAR) and Bob Leamon (U. Maryland-Baltimore County) call it “The Termination Event.” “Old Solar Cycle 24 has finally died–it was terminated!” says McIntosh. “Now the new solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, can really take off.”

08/17/2021: Fast changes between the solar seasons resolved by new sun clock. n a new study led by the University of Warwickl, scientists found that the change from solar maximum to the declining phase is fast, happening within a few (27 day) solar rotations. They also showed that the declining phase is twice as long in even-numbered solar cycles as it is in odd-numbered cycles.

12/07/2020: New sunspot cycle could be one of the strongest on record. Using an extended, 22-year solar cycle, a team of scientists is predicting that the Sunspot Cycle that started this fall could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began.

06/25/2020: Mystery of solar cycle illuminated. The sun's convection zone plays a key role in the generation and evolution of the Sun's magnetic field. Analyzing data sets spanning more than 20 years, researchers have obtained the most comprehensive picture of the north-south flow of plasma in the convection zone ever. The flow goes around the convection zone in each hemisphere in about 22 years.

04/08/20: New study: The quiet Sun is much more active than we thought. For a long time, researchers have believed that there is not much of interest going on in the Sun during the passive period, therefore not worth studying. Now this assumption is showed to be false. This is the first time that astronomers are systematically studying the phenomena of the solar minimum. See also A Warning from History-- The Carrington Event was not Unique. Solar Minimum Superstorm of 1903. [Solar Cycles]

09/19/19: Plasma flow near sun's surface explains sunspots, other solar phenomena. A University of Washington study published this month in the journal Physics of Plasmas proposes a model of plasma motion that would explain the 11-year sunspot cycle and several other previously mysterious properties of the sun.

05/27/19: The Sun follows the rhythm of the planets. Researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), an independent German research institute, now present new findings, indicating that the tidal forces of Venus, Earth and Jupiter influence the solar magnetic field, thus governing the solar cycle. See also: Our Sun's Mysterious 11-Year Cycle Appears to Be Driven by Alignment of The Planets

04/05/19: Unexpected Rain on Sun Links Two Solar Mysteries. Emily Mason and her coauthors describe the first observations of coronal rain in a smaller, previously overlooked kind of magnetic loop on the Sun. After a long, winding search in the wrong direction, the findings forge a new link between the anomalous heating of the corona and the source of the slow solar wind — two of the biggest mysteries facing solar science today.

11/20/18: A Sunspot from the next solar cycle. Over the weekend, a small sunspot materialized in the sun’s northern hemisphere, then, hours later, vanished again. Such an occurrence is hardly unusual during solar minimum when sunspots are naturally small and short-lived. However, this ephemeral spot was noteworthy because its magnetic field was reversed–marking it as a member of the next solar cycle.

ScienceCasts: Solar Mini-Max A new video examines the curious Solar Max of 2014.

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The Difference Between Flares and CMEs

Solar Flares, Erupting Filaments, and CMEs [See also Space Weather]

06/14/2021: Modeling a Coronal Mass Ejection from an Extended Filament Channel.

03/12/2021: The Great Québec Blackout Reexamined. On March 13, 1989, a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field. Ninety seconds later, the Hydro-Québec power grid failed.To piece together what happened, D. Boteler has sifted through old records of radio emissions, magnetograms, and other 80s-era data sources. His paper summarizes his findings — including a surprise.

03/03/2021: Scientists Trace Fastest Solar Particles to Their Roots on the Sun. Zipping through space at close to the speed of light, Solar Energetic Particles, or SEPs, are one of the main challenges for the future of human spaceflight. Clouds of these tiny solar projectiles can make it to Earth – a 93 million mile journey – in under an hour. They can fry sensitive spacecraft electronics and pose serious risks to human astronauts. But their onset is extraordinarily hard to predict, in part because we still don’t know exactly where on the Sun they come from. A new study tracing three SEP bursts back to the Sun has provided the first answer.

01/19/2021: Solar activity reconstructed over a millennium. An international team of researchers led by ETH Zurich has reconstructed solar activity back to the year 969 using measurements of radioactive carbon in tree rings. Those results help scientists to better understand the dynamics of the sun and allow more precise dating of organic materials using the C14 method.

10/12/2020: Studying the Sun as a Star to Understand Stellar Flares and Exoplanets. New research shows that sunspots and other active regions can change the overall solar emissions. The sunspots cause some emissions to dim and others to brighten; the timing of the changes also varies between different types of emissions. This knowledge will help astronomers characterize the conditions of stars, which has important implications for finding exoplanets around those stars.

8/18/20: Research team develops the first physics-based method for predicting large solar flares. Most flare prediction methods so far have relied on empirical methods.The research team led by Professor Kanya Kusano (Director of the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University) recently succeeded in developing the first physics-based model that can accurately predict imminent large solar flares.

07/28/20: Unprecedented look into 'central engine' powering a solar flare. Researchers have presented a new, detailed look inside the 'central engine' of a large solar flare accompanied by a powerful eruption by the Owens Valley Solar Array. The new findings offer the first measurements characterizing the magnetic fields and particles at the heart of the explosion. [Solar Flares]

01/16/2020: Reconstruction of a helical prominence in 3D from IRIS spectra and imagesScientists measure the evolving energy of a solar flare's explosive first minutes. Toward the end of 2017, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun’s surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic energy produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by NJIT’s then recently opened Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) radio telescope.

12/03/2019: NSF’s Dunn Solar Telescope helps international team crack 60-year-old mystery of Sun’s magnetic waves. The National Science Foundation’s Dunn Solar Observatory in New Mexico recently uncovered how the Sun’s magnetic waves strengthen and grow as they emerge from its surface. A group of scientists from around the world have made new progress in understanding the mystery of how the corona of the Sun maintains its multi-million-degree temperatures.

11/18/2019: Earth's Magnetic Song recorded for the first time during a solar storm. Data from ESA’s Cluster mission has provided a recording of the eerie ‘song’ that Earth sings when it is hit by a solar storm. The new findings were published today in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters.

10/16/19: Surveying Solar Storms by Ancient Assyrian Astronomers. Scientists at the University of Tsukuba study ancient cuneiform records for evidence of unusual solar activity 2,700 years ago, and identify three possible magnetic storms by matching the dates with tree-ring radioisotope data. This work may help modern astronomers predict future solar flares or coronal mass ejections that can damage satellite and terrestrial electronic devices.

01/19/19: From emergence to eruption: Comprehensive model captures life of a solar flare. A team of scientists has, for the first time, used a single, cohesive computer model to simulate the entire life cycle of a solar flare: from the buildup of energy thousands of kilometers below the solar surface, to the emergence of tangled magnetic field lines, to the explosive release of energy in a brilliant flash.

07/18/18: Discovering Structure in the Outer Corona. Scientists have discovered never-before-detected, fine-grained structures in the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona. The team imaged this critical region in detail using sophisticated software techniques and longer exposures from the COR-2 camera on board NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory-A (STEREO-A). Read the original paper.

05/24/18: Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array Reveals New Insights into Solar Flares' Explosive Energy Releases. Last September, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun’s surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic fields produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by NJIT’s recently expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA).

02/08/18: Towards a better prediction of solar eruptions. Just one phenomenon may underlie all solar eruptions. Researchers have identified the presence of a confining 'cage' in which a magnetic rope forms, causing solar eruptions. It is the resistance of this cage to the attack of the rope that determines the power and type of the upcoming flare. This work has enabled the scientists to develop a model capable of predicting the maximum energy that an be released during a solar flare.

Cassini Type-III Radio Bursts. Listen to type III solar radio bursts produced by the very intense solar flares on October 28, 2003, and November 4, 2003.

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Solar Observation

UK Solar Physics-Observe the Sun past and present| tutorial. New Website from UK Solar Physics showing Past and Present Solar Activity

02/24/2022: Massive solar telescope starts science observations. On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Inouye Solar Telescope commenced its first science observations, signaling the start of its year-long operations commissioning phase and a new era of solar science. The world’s largest solar telescope is now the cornerstone of a mission to advance our knowledge of the Sun and poised to revolutionize our understanding of the Sun and its impacts on Earth.

01/27/2020: New Mission Will Take 1st Peek at Sun’s Poles. A new spacecraft- Solar Orbiter, a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA- is journeying to the Sun to snap the first pictures of the Sun’s north and south poles.

01/24/2020: World's largest solar telescope produces never-before-seen image of our star. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the world's largest solar telescope, captured its first image of the sun — the highest-resolution image of our star to date.The new images reveal small magnetic structures in incredible detail.

06/17/19: NASA Scientists Find Sun’s History Buried in Moon’s Crust. The Sun's rotation rate in its first billion years is unknown. Yet, this spin rate affected solar eruptions, influencing the evolution of life. Scientists think they've figured it out by using the Moon as critical evidence.

12/10/18: SwRI Solar activity research provides insight into sun's past, future. Scientists have developed a new technique for looking at historic solar data to distinguish trustworthy observations from those that should be used with care. This work is critical to understanding the sun's past and future as well as whether solar activity plays a role in climate change.

09/07/18:NASA-funded Rocket to View Sun with X-Ray Vision. The FOXSI sounding rocket will scour the Sun with X-ray vision, looking for the mysterious mini-explosions that heat the corona to millions of degrees.

01/19/19: Reversing Prominence. A prominence rose up above the sun, sent an arch of plasma to link up magnetically with an active region over a one-day period (Jan, 9-10, 2019). Then the flow of plasma seemed to largely change direction and head back where it came from. Finally, amidst the confused patterns of movement, it dissipated and fell away. Prominences are cooler clouds of charged particles tenuously tethered to the sun by magnetic forces. Images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

01/18/18: NASA Team Studies Middle-aged Sun by Tracking Motion of Mercury. The orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun’s gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, a team of NASA and MIT scientists has indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury’s orbit.

 

Solar Prominences

04/03/19: Researchers pinpoint origin of photons in mysterious gamma-ray bursts. Researchers have used simulations to demonstrate that the photons emitted by mysterious events called gamma ray bursts come from the photosphere of the expanding relativistic jet.

03/25/19: Race at the edge of the Sun: Ions are faster than atoms. Ions move faster than atoms in the gas streams of a solar prominence. Scientists at the University of Göttingen, the Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris and the Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno have observed this. The results of the study were published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Solar Wind [See also Space Weather]

03/25/2022: Scientists solve solar secret. The further we move away from a heat source, the cooler the air gets. Bizarrely, the same can’t be said for the Sun, but University of Otago scientists may have just explained a key part of why.

04/14/20: New research helps explain why the solar wind is hotter than expected. When the sun expels plasma, the solar wind cools as it expands through space -- but not as much as the laws of physics would predict. Physicists now know the reason.

02/03/2020: Low-energy solar particles from beyond Earth found near the Sun. Using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (PSP), a team led by Southwest Research Institute identified low-energy particles lurking near the Sun that likely originated from solar wind interactions well beyond Earth orbit.

04/05/19: Unexpected Rain on Sun Links Two Solar Mysteries. Emily Mason and her coauthors describe the first observations of coronal rain in a smaller, previously overlooked kind of magnetic loop on the Sun. After a long, winding search in the wrong direction, the findings forge a new link between the anomalous heating of the corona and the source of the slow solar wind — two of the biggest mysteries facing solar science today.

09/25/18: Solar Wind and Corona Timeline. Key discoveries and ideas that led to our current understanding of the corona and the solar wind, leading up to the newest spacecraft in NASA’s Heliophysics fleet.

The planets and moons of our solar system are continuously being bombarded by particles hurled away from the sun. On Earth this has hardly any effect, apart from the fascinating northern lights, because the dense atmosphere and the magnetic field of the Earth protect us from these solar wind particles. But on the Moon or on Mercury things are different: There, the uppermost layer of rock is gradually eroded by the impact of sun particles.

06/12/18: The true power of the solar wind. The planets and moons of our solar system are continuously being bombarded by particles hurled away from the sun. On Earth this has hardly any effect, apart from the fascinating northern lights, because the dense atmosphere and the magnetic field of the Earth protect us from these solar wind particles. But on the Moon or on Mercury things are different: There, the uppermost layer of rock is gradually eroded by the impact of sun particles. [Solar Wind]

05/31/18: UMD-led Study Shows How Earth Slows the Solar Wind to a Gentle Breeze. As Earth orbits the sun at supersonic speed, it cuts a path through the solar wind. This fast stream of charged particles, or plasma, launched from the sun’s outer layers would bombard Earth's atmosphere if not for the protection of Earth's magnetic field.

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Space Weather

Chronology of effects. Many different man-made systems are affected during magnetic disturbances from 1947-2004. Here we have onlyNatural Resources Canada has attempted to document the effects of geomagnetic disturbances on electrical systems at the Earth's surface, such as power systems, pipelines, and communication cables.

03/11/2022: Magnetic reconnection breakthrough may help predict space weather. A West Virginia University postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy has made a breakthrough in the study of magnetic reconnection, which could prevent space storms from wreaking havoc on the Earth's satellite and power grid systems.

08/05/2021: Solving solar puzzle could help save Earth from planet-wide blackouts. Mathematician Dr Geoffrey Vasil has proposed a new understanding of the Sun's convection zone to help predict space weather.

01/29/2020: Space super-storm likelihood estimated from longest period of magnetic field observations. A 'great' space weather super-storm large enough to cause significant disruption to our electronic and networked systems occurred on average once in every 25 years according to a new study.

03/12/19: Probability of catastrophic geomagnetic storm lower than estimated. According to a group of mathematics researchers, the probability in the following decade of the sun causing a storm strong enough to affect electrical and communication infrastructures around the globe 'only' reaches 1.9 percent maximum. Nevertheless, the event would produce severe consequences and governments should be prepared, researchers warn.

03/11/19: Researchers uncover additional evidence for massive solar storms. Solar storms can be far more powerful than previously thought. A new study has found evidence for the third known case of a massive solar storm in historical times. The researchers believe that society might not be sufficiently prepared if a similar event were to happen now.

07/17/18: How does the sun's rotational cycle influence lightning activity on earth?. A collaborative research team has taken the first steps to understanding how the sun's rotational cycle influences lightning activity. They found answers in an unusual source -- diaries dating back to the 1700s.

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Spectroscopy

03/08/2022: Astronomers discover largest molecule yet in a planet-forming disc. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands have for the first time detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc. With nine atoms, this is the largest molecule identified in such a disc to date. It is also a precursor of larger organic molecules that can lead to the emergence of life.

03/04/2022: James Webb Space Telescope instrument gets ready to probe the universe's chemistry. The Near-Infrared Spectrograph passed initial checkouts amid the observatory's mirror alignment activities.

02/23/2022: Astronomers map mysterious element in space. A research team has provided an important clue to the origin of the element Ytterbium in the Milky Way, by showing that the element largely originates from supernova explosions. The groundbreaking research also provides new opportunities for studying the evolution of our galaxy.

11/04/2021: Astronomers make most distant detection yet of fluorine in star-forming galaxy. For the first time, astronomers have detected an element found in our bodies in a galaxy that is more than 12 billion light-years away. for more detailed information go to Fluorine in red giant stars

12/16/20: Hubblecast 133: Spectroscopy with Hubble. How does spectroscopy work and what can the study of light tell us about the Universe? How are astronomers using spectroscopy to study exoplanets in the search for life?

10/16/2020: Ultraviolet shines light on origins of the solar system. In the search to discover the origins of our solar system, an international team of researchers, including planetary scientist and cosmochemist James Lyons of Arizona State University, has compared the composition of the sun to the composition of the most ancient materials that formed in our solar system: refractory inclusions in unmetamorphosed meteorites. [Solar System Update]

10/08/2020: New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Researchers have measured, with unprecedented accuracy, the gravitational redshift of the Sun, a change in frequency of the lines in the solar spectrum which is produced when the light escapes from the gravitational field of the Sun on its way to Earth.See also: Redshift: a video explanation from the ALMA Observatory

08/28/19: Canadian astronomers determine Earth’s fingerprint in hopes of finding habitable planets beyond the Solar System. McGill Physics student Evelyn Macdonald and her supervisor Prof. Nicolas Cowan used over a decade of observations of Earth’s atmosphere taken by the SCISAT satellite to construct a transit spectrum of Earth, a sort of fingerprint for Earth’s atmosphere in infrared light, which shows the presence of key molecules in the search for habitable worlds.

08/05/19: Measuring distances to remote celestial objects and analyzing cosmic clouds. Researchers jointly developed an originative radio receiver DESHIMA (Deep Spectroscopic High-redshift Mapper) and successfully obtained the first spectra and images with it. Combining the ability to detect a wide frequency range of cosmic radio waves and to disperse them into different frequencies, DESHIMA demonstrated its unique power to efficiently measure the distances to the remotest objects as well as to map the distributions of various molecules in nearby cosmic clouds.

04/29/19: Milky Way star with strange chemistry is from dwarf galaxy. Using the High Dispersion Spectrograph on the Subaru Telescope, astronomers have discovered a star in the Milky Way Galaxy with a chemical composition unlike any other star in our Galaxy. This chemical composition has been seen in a small number of stars in dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way and suggests that the star was part of a dwarf galaxy that merged into the Milky Way. See also: Chemical evidence shows how a dwarf galaxy contributes to growth of the Milky Way

11/07/18: Aging a Flock of Stars in the Wild Duck Cluster. The way they move belies the true ages of the almost 3,000 stars populating one of the richest star clusters known. Astronomers recently discovered the stars all were born in the same generation, solving a long-standing puzzle about how stars evolve.

10/24/18: Physicist, International Team Report First ‘Snapshot’ of Complete Spectrum of Neutrinos Emitted by the Sun. About 99 percent of the sun's energy emitted as neutrinos is produced through nuclear reaction sequences initiated by proton-proton (pp) fusion in which hydrogen is converted into helium, say scientists. Comprehensive measurement of pp-chain solar neutrinos. [Spectroscopy]

09/04/18: Terahertz spectroscopy enters the single-molecule regime. Researchers showed that long-wavelength terahertz (THz) spectroscopy can detect motion of single molecules, not just molecular ensembles. They used a single-molecule transistor design, where pairs of metal electrodes trap isolated C60 molecules, focus the THz beam onto them, and measure current change caused by THz-induced oscillation. Two vibrational peaks were recorded. The measurement was sensitive enough to register slight peak-splitting caused by electron charging. This could promote wider use of THz spectroscopy.

08/17/18: First Science with ALMA’s Highest-Frequency Capabilities A team of scientists using the highest-frequency capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has uncovered jets of warm water vapor streaming away from a newly forming star. The researchers also detected the “fingerprints” of an astonishing assortment of molecules near this stellar nursery. [spectroscopy]

01/30/18: Stellar Embryos in Nearby Dwarf Galaxy Contain Surprisingly Complex Organic Molecules Astronomers using ALMA have uncovered chemical “fingerprints” of methanol, dimethyl ether, and methyl formate in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The latter two molecules are the largest organic molecules ever conclusively detected outside the Milky Way.

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Sunspots

03/22/2022: Nearby star could explain why our sun didn't have sunspots for 70 years. Astronomers identified a nearby star whose sunspot cycles appear to have stopped. Studying this star might help explain the unusual period from the mid 1600s to the early 1700s when our Sun paused its sunspot cycles.

01/19/2021: Solar activity reconstructed over a millennium. An international team of researchers led by ETH Zurich has reconstructed solar activity back to the year 969 using measurements of radioactive carbon in tree rings. Those results help scientists to better understand the dynamics of the sun and allow more precise dating of organic materials using the C14 method.

10/08/2020: A New Look at Sunspots is Helping NASA Scientists Understand Major Flares and Life Around Other Stars

07/13/2020: Gigantic, red and full of spots. According to researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany about eight percent of red giants are covered by sunspot-like, dark areas. These stars rotate faster than others of their kind.

09/20/18: Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of Sun-like stars for the first time Sun-like stars rotate up to two and a half times faster at the equator than at higher latitudes, NYU Abu Dhabi researchers have discovered, a finding that challenges current science on how stars rotate. Scientists at the NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Space Science used observations from NASA’s Kepler mission and asteroseismology — the study of sound waves traveling inside stars — to determine with precision how Sun-like stars rotate, which no other scientific method has been able to achieve.

 

comparison of Jupiter and earth to X3.1-class flare on 10/24/14

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