This puts everything in perspective. Here's an image of today's X2.2-class solar flare, along with the Earth for scale. Image via NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory
Our sun may look relatively constant from our far away perch on Earth, but up close it's a busy place, full of plasma activity, shifting magnetic fields, and, yes, even explosions. Here are the different kinds of solar explosions you might see, and how to tell the difference between them.
This morning, astronomers observed an incredibly powerful x-class solar flare erupting from the sun, only to be surprised by what they saw happen just about an hour later: a second x-class flare.
This may be the most amazing shot of the northern lights, yet. Check out the way they're moving — that's no timelapse, this video was shot in realtime.
It's been a remarkable week of solar activity. Astronomers recorded several coronal mass ejections this week, including three that are currently hitting the Earth's magnetic field. An exquisite image of one of this week's many flares can be seen below.
Why would a spinning star suddenly slow down? Even after writing a scientific paper about the phenomenon, astronomers still appear to be in shock-and-awe mode about what they saw.
You might think our own sun is turbulent — but it turns out we've got it easy. Astronomers have found a gas giant, 60 light years away from Earth, that's been hit with a violent flare from its star, blasting it with an intense wave of X-ray radiation. Because the exoplanet is so close to its sun, the radiation causes…
The sun is at it again, this time blasting its second magnetic bubble of energetic plasma in as many days. The blast is heading towards Earth at a speed of 1,360 kilometers per second and is expected to arrive on June 16.
On Tuesday night, the surface of the Sun erupted in an violent solar flare, blasting a massive wave of charged particles in the direction of Earth. And early this morning, those particles smashed into our planet's atmosphere.
Although we are ramping up to a high in solar activity, there's no reason to look at the sun with fear and horror. NASA has announced that a killer solar flare is a physical impossibility.
Earlier today, the Sun fired the biggest solar flare we've seen thus far in our current solar cycle. With an X-ray magnitude of X6.9, this flare was three times larger than the previous titleholder, a X2.2 from mid-February.
For the last few years the sun has been kicking back and relaxing. A lot. Although a huge solar flare recently made headlines, the surface of the sun has been quiet lately. Sunspots have been more scarce than they've been in the last 200 years. All solar activity is low. And it looks like it's going to stay that way…
It's been a busy months for solar flares. On Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed this billowing plasma tower they've dubbed a "monster prominence." For 90 minutes, this flare twisted on the Sun's surface before collapsing and emitting material into space.
The Sun is changing the supposedly constant rates of decay of radioactive elements, and we have absolutely no idea why. But an entirely unknown particle could be behind it. Plus, this discovery could help us predict deadly solar flares.
NASA recently launched a probe that's designed to do nothing but study the sun — and it's found new ways of helping scientists observe "violent solar events." Which could be useful for predicting mega-flares.