‘A wonderful spectacle’: Photographer snaps rare solar eruption as ‘magnetic noose’ strangles the sun’s south pole

A gigantic plume of plasma recently exploded from the sun’s south pole, where solar eruptions almost never occur. The explosion, which a photographer captured in stunning detail, is another telltale sign that the sun is about to enter its most active phase — the solar maximum.  The rare phenomenon occurred on Feb. 17, when a … Read more

See the sun’s surface rage as solar maximum approaches (photo)

A new visualization from the European Space Agency (ESA) shows activity ramping up on the sun’s surface as it approaches solar maximum this year.  Every 11 years or so, the sun experiences a peak in activity known as solar maximum, due to its strong and constantly shifting magnetic fields. During this period of the solar … Read more

Upcoming solar maximum may help solve the sun’s gamma-ray puzzle

If solar scientists aren’t already eager to observe the sun as it reaches solar maximum in 2024, a newly discovered gamma-ray puzzle will intensify that desire.  While examining 14 years worth of data from NASA’s Fermi space telescope, a team of researchers discovered that during the last solar maximum in 2013 and 2014, the polar … Read more

Europe’s Proba-3 mission will create an ‘artificial eclipse’ to the study sun’s corona

While the world eagerly awaits the total solar eclipse in April, scientists are already planning observations for the next — except this will be an “artificial” one. Here’s what that means. Proba-3, a mission led by the European Space Agency (ESA), has been in the making for at least 14 years. It’s due to finally … Read more

Solar Orbiter decoding the sun’s mysterious miniflares: ‘just the tip of the iceberg’

Three months ago, scientists spotted tiny, short-lived energy jets surfacing from dark regions in the corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere.  Upon closer look, these jets appeared as bright flashes everywhere on the sun‘s disk. They lasted only 20 to 100 seconds but packed a powerful punch: A single minute-long jet carried energy equivalent to the … Read more