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E.g., 08/22/2017
E.g., 08/22/2017
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  • multi-wavelength mosaic of the sun
  • 2016 solar eclipse
  • Milky Way
Your search has returned 833 articles:
  • News

    Eclipse watchers will go after the biggest solar mystery: Why is the corona so hot?

    A total solar eclipse shines a light on the sun's elusive atmosphere. When the moon blocks the sun, it’s finally possible to see how this diffuse cloud of plasma, called the corona, is magnetically sculpted into beautiful loops. The material there is about a trillionth the density of the solar surface. From its delicate and diaphanous appearance, you might expect the corona to be where the sun...

    08/20/2017 - 06:00 Astronomy, Science & Society, Physics
  • News

    Does the corona look different when solar activity is high versus when it’s low?

    Some cities have all the luck.

    Carbondale, Ill., is just a few kilometers north of the point where this year’s total solar eclipse will linger longest — the city will get two minutes and 38 seconds of total darkness when the moon blocks out the sun. And it’s the only city in the United States that will also be in the path of totality when the next total solar eclipse crosses North...

    08/19/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Physics, Science & Society, Earth
  • News

    We share the Milky Way with 100 million black holes

    The Milky Way teems with black holes — about 100 million of them.

    But there’s no reason to fear. “It may sound like a big number, but by astronomical standards, it’s a pretty small number,” says physicist Daniel Holz of the University of Chicago. The number of stars in the Milky Way, for example, is about a thousand times larger.

    Scientists from the University of California, Irvine...

    08/18/2017 - 09:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    Where does the solar wind come from? The eclipse may offer answers

    The sun can’t keep its hands to itself. A constant flow of charged particles streams away from the sun at hundreds of kilometers per second, battering vulnerable planets in its path.

    This barrage is called the solar wind, and it has had a direct role in shaping life in the solar system. It’s thought to have stripped away much of Mars’ atmosphere (SN: 4/29/17, p. 20). Earth is protected...

    08/18/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Science & Society, Physics
  • News

    Why are the loops in the sun’s atmosphere so neat and tidy?

    View the video

    When the Aug. 21 solar eclipse unveils the sun’s normally dim atmosphere, the corona will look like an intricate, orderly network of loops, fans and streamers. These features trace the corona’s magnetic field, which guides coronal plasma to take on the shape of tubes and sheets.

    These wispy coronal structures arise from the magnetic field on the sun’s visible surface...

    08/17/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Earth, Science & Society, Physics
  • News

    What can the eclipse tell us about the corona’s magnetic field?

    View the video

    The star of any solar eclipse is, of course, the sun. And total eclipses give the sun’s wispy, tenuous atmosphere the spotlight. This region, called the corona, is normally too dim to observe directly. But with the moon blocking the sun’s bright disk, the corona comes into view.

    And the view is dazzling. The corona’s hot plasma is a radiant, ever-changing tiara, full...

    08/16/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Earth, Science & Society, Physics
  • News

    Can the eclipse tell us if Einstein was right about general relativity?

    Almost a century ago, a solar eclipse revealed the geometry of spacetime. Now, physicists and amateur astronomers — armed with do-it-yourself gear — are going to double check that math during the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

    In his 1915 general theory of relativity, Albert Einstein predicted that the sun’s gravity should distort spacetime in its vicinity. Stars behind the sun would appear in...

    08/15/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Science & Society, Physics
  • News

    Why is this year’s solar eclipse such a big deal for scientists?

    The sky will go dark. The temperature will drop. Stars will shine in the middle of the day. For the first time in nearly a century, millions of Americans from coast-to-coast will witness a total solar eclipse. Those who have watched the sun suddenly snuff out say it’s an otherworldly feeling. It can be humbling. It can be spiritual. It can change the course of history (SN: 5/13/17, p. 29)....

    08/11/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Earth, Physics, Science & Society
  • News

    Moon had a magnetic field for at least a billion years longer than thought

    The moon had a magnetic field for at least 2 billion years, or maybe longer.

    Analysis of a relatively young rock collected by Apollo astronauts reveals the moon had a weak magnetic field until 1 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, at least a billion years later than previous data showed. Extending this lifetime offers insights into how small bodies generate magnetic fields, researchers...

    08/09/2017 - 15:07 Planetary Science, Physics, Exoplanets
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers fascinated by critters’ strange biology

    Suck it up

    Tubelip wrasses’ slimy lips help the fish suck up dinner from coral reefs, Helen Thompson reported in “The better to eat you with, my dear” (SN: 7/8/17 & 7/22/17, p. 44).

    “How do wrasses ‘suck’ if they have no lungs?” asked reader John Coventry. 

    Suction-feeding fish let their mouths do all the work, says marine biologist David Bellwood. “In just the same way that we...

    08/09/2017 - 11:31 Animals, Neuroscience, Physics