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10/10/16: Researchers discover effect of rare solar wind on Earth's radiation belts. Researchers from the University of New Hampshire have captured unique measurements of the Van Allen radiation belts, which circle the Earth, during an extremely rare solar wind event. The findings, which have never been reported before, may be helpful in protecting orbiting telecommunication and navigational satellites, and possibly future astronauts, by helping to more accurately predict space conditions near Earth, as well as around more remote planets. Read full study
8/15/16: Van Allen probes catch rare glimpse of supercharged radiation belt. On March 17, 2015, an interplanetary shock – a shockwave created by the driving force of a coronal mass ejection, or CME, from the sun – struck the outermost radiation belt, triggering the greatest geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade. NASA's Van Allen Probes were there to watch it.
Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Genna Duberstein, producer.
9/23/16: NASA-Funded Sounding Rocket Solves One Cosmic Mystery, Reveals Another. In the last century, humans realized that space is filled with types of light we can’t see – from infrared signals released by hot stars and galaxies, to the cosmic microwave background that comes from every corner of the universe. Some of this invisible light that fills space takes the form of X-rays, the source of which has been hotly contended over the past few decades.
9/19/16: The Dynamic Duo: RAVE complements Gaia. The new data release of the RAdial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) is the fifth spectroscopic release of a survey of stars in the southern celestial hemisphere. It contains radial velocities for 520,781 spectra of 457,588 unique stars that were observed over ten years.
9/14/16:Hinode: 10th Anniversary of Its Launch. The solar observing satellite “Hinode” will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its launch on 23 September (Japan standard time). This 3-minutes movie presents the solar atmosphere fulfilled with active phenomena much more than ever imagined, captured with the Hinode telescopes.
9/1/16: Images From Sun’s Edge Reveal Origins of Solar Wind. Ever since the 1950s discovery of the solar wind -- the constant flow of charged particles from the Sun -- there's been a stark disconnect between this outpouring and the sun itself. The details of the transition from defined rays in the corona, the sun's upper atmosphere, to the solar wind have been, until now, a mystery.
8/24/16: Solar activity has a direct impact on Earth’s cloud cover. Solar variations affect the abundance of clouds in our atmosphere, a new study lead by DTU Space suggests. Large eruptions on the surface of the Sun can temporarily shield Earth from so-called cosmic rays which now appear to affect cloud formation.
8/23/16: Return of Stereo B. On Aug. 21, 2016, NASA reestablished contact with the sun-watching STEREO-B spacecraft, after communications were lost in October 2014. STEREO-B is one of two spacecraft of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission, which over the course of their lifetime have viewed the sun from vantage points such as the ones shown here, on the other side of the sun from Earth.
7/13/16: Slow appearance of sunspots challenges theory.
Solar active regions consist of strongly magnetic sunspots and surrounding regions of more diffuse magnetic field. These regions are the origin of solar activity which controls space weather and causes beautiful phenomena such as aurora but in some cases also damage to satellites or power grids. Solar active regions are thought to be the result of magnetic flux concentrations - bundles of magnetic field lines - rising from deep in the solar interior and penetrating the surface. A team consisting of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), The University of Göttingen, NorthWest Research Associates, and the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research has now shown that these magnetic flux concentrations move upward through the solar interior at speeds of not more than about 150 m/s. This is much slower than predicted by the prevailing current model. full text