Greenbelt, MD – Scientists have combined NASA data and cutting-edge image processing to gain new insight into the solar structures that create the Sun’s flow of high-speed solar wind, detailed in new research published in The Astrophysical Journal. This first look at relatively small features, dubbed “plumelets,” could help scientists understand how and why disturbances form in the solar wind.
The Sun’s magnetic influence stretches billions of miles, far past the orbit of Pluto and the planets, defined by a driving force: the solar wind.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA has approved two heliophysics missions to explore the Sun and the system that drives space weather near Earth. Together, NASA’s contribution to the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission, or EUVST, and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer, or EZIE, will help us understand the Sun and Earth as an interconnected system.
Understanding the physics that drive the solar wind and solar explosions – including solar flares and coronal mass ejections – could one day help scientists predict these events, which can impact human technology and explorers in space.
NASA’s Lunar Gateway to be equipped with Instruments to Forecast Weather Forecast for Artemis Missions
Greenbelt, MD – One of the first things people want to know before taking a trip is what the weather will be like wherever they are headed.
For Artemis astronauts traveling on missions to the Moon, two space weather instrument suites, NASA’s HERMES and ESA’s ERSA, will provide an early forecast. Weather in this case means energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields hurtling through the solar system.
Greenbelt, MD – Only the two Voyager spacecraft have ever been there, and it took than more than 30 years of supersonic travel. It lies well past the orbit of Pluto, through the rocky Kuiper belt, and on for four times that distance. This realm, marked only by an invisible magnetic boundary, is where Sun-dominated space ends: the closest reaches of interstellar space.
In this stellar no-man’s land, particles and light shed by our galaxy’s 100 billion stars jostle with ancient remnants of the big bang. This mixture, the stuff between the stars, is known as the interstellar medium. Its contents record our solar system’s distant past and may foretell hints of its future.
Washington, D.C. – But a neighboring shield may have helped our planet retain its atmosphere and eventually go on to develop life and habitable conditions. That shield was the Moon, says a NASA-led study in the journal Science Advances.
“The Moon seems to have presented a substantial protective barrier against the solar wind for the Earth, which was critical to Earth’s ability to maintain its atmosphere during this time,” said Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist and lead author of the new study. “We look forward to following up on these findings when NASA sends astronauts to the Moon through the Artemis program, which will return critical samples of the lunar South Pole.”
Pasadena, CA – Data from NASA instruments aboard the ESA (European Space Agency) Rosetta mission have helped reveal that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has its own far-ultraviolet aurora.
It is the first time such electromagnetic emissions in the far-ultraviolet have been documented on a celestial object other than a planet or moon. A paper on the findings was released today in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Greenbelt, MD – The first images from ESA/NASA’s Solar Orbiter are now available to the public, including the closest pictures ever taken of the Sun.
Solar Orbiter is an international collaboration between the European Space Agency, or ESA, and NASA, to study our closest star, the Sun. Launched on February 9th, 2020 (EST), the spacecraft completed its first close pass of the Sun in mid-June.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was at the right place at the right time to capture a unique view of comet NEOWISE on July 5th, 2020. Parker Solar Probe’s position in space gave the spacecraft an unmatched view of the comet’s twin tails when it was particularly active just after its closest approach to the Sun, called perihelion.
The comet was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE, on March 27th. Since then, the comet — called comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE and nicknamed comet NEOWISE — has been spotted by several NASA spacecraft, including Parker Solar Probe, NASA’s Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Pasadena, CA – Eight and a half years into its grand tour of the solar system, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft was ready for another encounter. It was January 24th, 1986, and soon it would meet the mysterious seventh planet, icy-cold Uranus.
Over the next few hours, Voyager 2 flew within 50,600 miles (81,433 kilometers) of Uranus’ cloud tops, collecting data that revealed two new rings, 11 new moons and temperatures below minus 353 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 214 degrees Celsius). The dataset is still the only up-close measurements we have ever made of the planet.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA says a new spacecraft is journeying to the Sun to snap the first pictures of the Sun’s north and south poles.
Solar Orbiter, a collaboration between the European Space Agency, or ESA, and NASA, will have its first opportunity to launch from Cape Canaveral on February 7th, 2020, at 10:15pm CST.
Launching on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, the spacecraft will use Venus’s and Earth’s gravity to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane — the swath of space, roughly aligned with the Sun’s equator, where all planets orbit.
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