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Scents of Science

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sun

The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun

Typically, the International Space Station is visible only at night. Slowly drifting across the night sky as it orbits the Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) can be seen as a bright spot about once a month from many locations. The ISS is then visible only... Continue Reading →

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Happy SunDay! Are Solar Eruptions Messy, or Neat?

Seen from Earth, solar flares put on an elegant show. But these dancing plasma ribbons are the shrapnel of violent explosions. The energetic process that fuels them, known as magnetic reconnection, doesn't just power flares. Magnetic reconnection shapes the behavior... Continue Reading →

SOLAR ORBITER’S JOURNEY AROUND THE SUN

Animation showing the trajectory of Solar Orbiter around the Sun, highlighting the gravity assist manoeuvres that will enable the spacecraft to change inclination to observe the Sun from different perspectives. During the initial cruise phase, which lasts until November 2021,... Continue Reading →

Sun performance

Soon after the instruments opened their doors, the Sun began performing for SDO with this beautiful prominence eruption. This AIA data is from March 30, 2010, showing a wavelength band that is centered around 304 Å. This extreme ultraviolet emission... Continue Reading →

Happy Sun Day!

The sun and its atmosphere consist of several zones or layers. From the inside out, the solar interior consists of: the Core (the central region where nuclear reactions consume hydrogen to form helium. These reactions release the energy that ultimately leaves the... Continue Reading →

Organized Arches

Magnetic arcs of plasma that spiraled above two active regions held their shape fairly well over 18 hours (Jan. 11-12, 2017). The charged plasma is being controlled by the magnetic field lines of the active regions. The field lines become... Continue Reading →

Watch a comet dive into the sun

The solar system has one less comet. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) watched a comet dive toward the sun. The dirty snowball went in--but it didn't come back out again. The comet, R.I.P., was a member of the Kreutz... Continue Reading →

Solving the sun’s super-heating mystery with Parker Solar Probe

It's one of the greatest and longest-running mysteries surrounding, quite literally, our sun -- why is its outer atmosphere hotter than its fiery surface? University of Michigan researchers believe they have the answer, and hope to prove it with help... Continue Reading →

BepiColombo flexes solar array

The ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury has been firing its electric propulsion thrusters since December in the first of 22 ‘thruster burn arcs’ that will steer the spacecraft to its destination. While taking routine images with the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM)’s solar... Continue Reading →

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