Tagged With sun

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Since early last week, the Sun has belched out a steady stream of solar flares, including the most powerful burst recorded in the star's current 11-year cycle. It sounds very alarming, but scientists say this is simply what stars do every now and then, and that there's nothing to be concerned about.

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The Sun's impact on weather here on Earth is clear: It makes it hot or cold, it powers air currents, it causes water to evaporate making rain, et cetera. But with our increasing reliance on satellites and electronics, you can't forget its more insidious effects — and some satellites got a taste of those yesterday.

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The rarity of solar eclipses — around one every 18 months — provides a small window for scientists to research the phenomena, especially when you have to be in the right place at the right time to study them at all. The European Space Agency has come up with an ingenious way to get around this problem: launch a pair of satellites into orbit designed to create and analyse their own artificial eclipses.

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We have told people not to stare at the Sun today. We have told people to use safety glasses. We have tried so very hard, and we are so very tired.

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Humans are pretty jaded these days. We can write most of the strange phenomena we see off as science (or we honestly don't care). But when Roman philosophers such as Pliny the Elder witnessed moonless nights glow bright like the day, it definitely made an impression. Others since then have been awestruck by these "bright nights", too.

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Today, NASA reminded the world it will soon be performing the ultimate act of wish fulfilment on behalf of all humanity: In winter 2018, the space agency plans to launch a probe right into the Sun's atmosphere. While the mission will sadly not be crewed, the 3m-high Solar Probe Plus, now officially the Parker Solar Probe, will get closer than any of us will to the hot ball of gas — and death.

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Our planet is due to be hit with a powerful solar storm, an event that happens about once every hundred years. New research shows that losses from the ensuing blackouts could total $US41.5 billion ($54 billion) per day in the US alone, including nearly $US7 billion ($9 billion) lost in trade.

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Like an endless blaze roaring forth from the gates of Hell, the solar wind is majestic, awe inspiring and terrifying. The only proof you need that the Sun is the one and true master of our solar system is this never-before-seen view of a torrent of charged particles bursting out of our star's corona.

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Reminding us of our own fragile mortality, a large, bright comet just streaked across the sky and straight into our nearest neighbouring star. You will absolutely believe what happened next because it has happened to you in a nightmare, admit it.

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Video: Turns out, all those movies about spaceships going just a liiiiittle bit off course and crashing into the sun were filthy, filthy lies. The good people over at Minute Physics explain why most of us couldn't crash into the sun if we tried.

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Video: It always makes for a beautiful video whenever the suns lashes out with a solar flare. Here's one from earlier this month. You can see how electric its movement are — it just whips up and explodes. The footage was captured in different wavelengths and then colour coded so that we can see what's happening in better detail. In this case, in 4K detail.

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A team of scientists has created a new, high-resolution model of the complex magnetic activity on the surface of the Sun. The result is as spellbinding as it is terrifying. Gaze into the roiling ball of plasma that supports everything you hold dear, and feel your sanity slip away.