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March 27, 2015
The Mystery of Nanoflares
Huntsville AL (SPX) Mar 24, 2015
When you attach the prefix "nano" to something, it usually means "very small." Solar flares appear to be the exception. Researchers are studying a type of explosion on the sun called a 'nanoflare.' A billion times less energetic than ordinary flares, nanoflares have a power that belies their name. "A typical 'nanoflare' has the same energy as 240 megatons of TNT," says physicist David Smith of UC Santa Cruz. "That would be something like 10,000 atomic fission bombs." The sun can go days, weeks or ... read more

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NASA-Funded Study Finds Two Solar Wind Jets in the Heliosphere
As the sun skims through the galaxy, it emits charged particles in a stream of plasma called the solar wind. The solar wind, in turn, creates a bubble known called the heliosphere that extends far b ... more
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The sun has more impact on the climate in cool periods
The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater sign ... more
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SOHO Sees Something New Near The Sun
An unusual comet skimmed past the sun on Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. This comet was interesting for ... more
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For the first time, spacecraft catch a solar shockwave in the act
On Oct. 8, 2013, an explosion on the sun's surface sent a supersonic blast wave of solar wind out into space. This shockwave tore past Mercury and Venus, blitzing by the moon before streaming toward ... more
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The origin of the magnetic field covering the Sun has been discovered
The magnetic field that covers the Sun and determines its behavior -the eleven year cycles no less than such conspicuous phenomena as solar spots and solar storms- also has another side to it: a mag ... more
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A new view of the solar system: Astrophysical jets driven by the sun
As the sun skims through the galaxy, it flings out charged particles in a stream of plasma called the solar wind, and the solar wind creates a bubble extending far outside the solar system known as ... more
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The Sun's activity in the 18th century was similar to that now
Counting sunspots over time helps in knowing the activity of our star but the two indices used by scientists disagree on dates prior to 1885. Now an international team of researchers has tried to st ... more
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SOHO and Hinode Offer New Insight Into Solar Eruptions
The sun is home to the largest explosions in the solar system. For example, it regularly produces huge eruptions known as coronal mass ejections - when billions of tons of solar material erupt off t ... more
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DSCOVR set for voyage to "far out" orbit
Many satellites that monitor the Earth orbit relatively close to the planet, while some satellites that monitor the sun orbit our star. DSCOVR will keep an eye on both, with a focus on the sun. To c ... more
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Rejigging the Cluster quartet
Aiming to study Earth's 'bow shock' in the solar wind, the constellation of Cluster satellites is being rejigged to bring two of the four to within almost touching distance. ESA's Cluster quartet, i ... more
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SDO collects its 100-millionth image of Sun
On Jan. 19, 2015, at 12:49 p.m. EST, an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured its 100 millionth image of the sun. The instrument is the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, or AIA, which ... more
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AI helps physicists predict dangerous solar flares
Though scientists do not completely understand what triggers solar flares, Stanford solar physicists Monica Bobra and Sebastien Couvidat have automated the analysis of those gigantic explosions. The ... more
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Solar Wind Workhorse Marks 20 Years of Science Discoveries
The end of 2014 marks two decades of data from a NASA mission called Wind. Wind - along with 17 other missions - is part of what's called the Heliophysics Systems Observatory, a fleet of spacecraft ... more
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Sun Sizzles in High-Energy X-Rays
For the first time, a mission designed to set its eyes on black holes and other objects far from our solar system has turned its gaze back closer to home, capturing images of our sun. NASA's Nuclear ... more
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NASA uses powerful X-ray telescope to take vibrant photo of the sun
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has taken its first photo of the sun. ... more
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NASA Satellites Measure Increase of Sun's Energy Absorbed in the Arctic
NASA satellite instruments have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000 - a trend that aligns with the steady decrease in Arctic sea ice during the s ... more
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    SwRI develops solar observatory for use on suborbital manned space missions
    Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is preparing to unveil a new, miniature portable solar observatory for use onboard a commercial, manned suborbital spacecraft. The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing ... more
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    SwRI scientists develop solar observatory for use on suborbital manned space missions
    Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is preparing to unveil a new, miniature portable solar observatory for use onboard a commercial, manned suborbital spacecraft. The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing ... more
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    The Science of Magnetic Reconnection
    Understanding vast systems in space requires understanding what's happening on widely different scales. Giant events can turn out to have tiny drivers - take, for example, what rocked near-Earth spa ... more
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    NASA-funded FOXSI to Observe X-Rays From Sun
    An enormous spectrum of light streams from the sun. We're most familiar with the conventional visible white light we see with our eyes from Earth, but that's just a fraction of what our closest star ... more
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    DSCOVR to Observe Space Weather and Earth from Afar
    News reports of hurricanes forming and predictions about storm paths are familiar occurrences. Less familiar are reports about solar wind and magnetic fields from the sun which can also have an impa ... more
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    Sun's rotating magnetic field may pull lightning toward Earth
    The push and pull of the sun's magnetic field may encourage lightning strikes by bending the Earth's own magnetic field, allowing an influx of electric particles. Over a five-year period, researchers at the University of Reading recorded a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes when the Earth's magnetic shield was manipulated by the sun. ... more
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    Sun's rotating 'magnet' pulls lightning towards UK
    The Sun may be playing a part in the generation of lightning strikes on Earth by temporarily 'bending' the Earth's magnetic field and allowing a shower of energetic particles to enter the upper atmo ... more
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    Interaction of Solar Wind and Earth Atmosphere Studied
    Northern Norway in December? It may not be your ideal spot to visit, but for NASA sounding rocket teams and university scientists, this is the ideal place to conduct experiments to increase the unde ... more
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