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Heliophysics - Space Weather Topics

  • Living with a Star

    2008April 6, 2011

    What if you woke up one morning and found your whole planet had been swallowed by the atmosphere of a star? Don't laugh, it could happen to you, and NASA has a special program to deal with it.

  • Cartwheel Coronal Mass Ejection

    2008April 6, 2011

    Imagine a billion-ton cloud of gas launching itself off the surface of the sun and then ... doing a cartwheel. That's exactly what happened on April 9, 2008, when a coronal mass ejection or "CME" pirouetted over the sun's limb in full view of an international fleet of spacecraft.

  • Explore the Ionosphere (from the safety of your own home)

    2008April 6, 2011

    Today, NASA-funded researchers released to the general public a new "4D" live model of Earth's ionosphere. Without leaving home, anyone can now fly through the layer of ionized gas that encircles Earth at the edge of space itself.

  • Solar Cycle 24 Begins

    2008April 6, 2011

    Hang on to your cell phones, a new solar cycle is underway. Solar Cycle 24 began last week with the appearance of a magnetically "backward" high-latitude sunspot.

  • Auroras in Broad Daylight

    2008April 6, 2011

    Imagine living on a planet where Northern Lights fill the heavens at all hours of the day. Around the clock, even in broad daylight, luminous curtains shimmer and ripple across the sky. News flash: Astronomers have discovered such a planet. Its name is Earth.

  • Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age

    2008April 6, 2011

    Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 has become the "blankest year" of the Space Age. Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low, signifying a deep minimum in the 11-year cycle of solar activity.

  • Solar Flare Surprise

    2008April 6, 2011

    Solar flares are supposed to obliterate everything in their vicinity, yet one of the most powerful flares of the past 30 years has done just the opposite, emitting a beam of pure and unbroken hydrogen atoms. Researchers think this strange event could yield vital clues to the inner workings of solar flares.

  • Giant Breach in Earth's Magnetic Field Discovered

    2008April 6, 2011

    NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth's magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. The size of the opening and the strange way it forms could overturn long-held ideas of space physics.

  • Spring is Aurora Season

    2008April 6, 2011

    For reasons not fully understood by scientists, the weeks around the vernal equinox are prone to Northern Lights.

  • NASA Plans to Visit the Sun

    2008April 6, 2011

    NASA has a daring new mission on the drawing board: Solar Probe Plus, a spacecraft tough enough to visit the sun itself.