News Articles

Illustration of Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun
Sep 26, 2017
In the summer of 2018, we’re launching Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft that will get closer to the Sun than any other in human history.
Earth, Sun, Earth’s Space Environment
Jun 14, 2016
Go outside tonight and behold the stars — especially bright stars low on the horizon. They twinkle as irregularities in Earth's atmosphere pass by. Unseen to the human eye, the same thing happens to signals from GPS, the Global Positioning System. Radio signals twinkle in much the same way as... Read More
Twinkle Twinkle GPS Poster 2
Sun, Sky Watching
May 3, 2016
Solar Scientists are accustomed to seeing spots on the sun--irregular islands of magnetism that sometimes erupt, producing strong solar flares. On May 9, 2016, they will see a spot of a very different kind--a dark circle moving across the solar disk. This spot is no ordinary sunspot. It's the... Read More
2016 Transit of Mercury Poster
Sun, Sky Watching, Eclipses
Mar 8, 2016
The forests of Indonesia are homes to one of the richest populations of songbirds in the world.  Ecotourists travel from far and wide to listen to them sing from the leafy canopy of the nation’s volcanic islands.  On March 9th, 2016, not long after sunrise, a time when the forest is... Read More
Indonesian Solar Eclipse Poster
Exoplanets, Sun
Feb 18, 2016
In 1947, shortly after the end of World War II, a young radio astronomer in Australia named Ruby Payne-Scott was observing the sun when a tremendous roar of static issued from the loudspeaker of her radio telescope. Almost 70 years later, astronomers are still marveling at the outburst. “It was... Read More
Listening to the Stars Poster
Sun, Earth’s Space Environment
Dec 14, 2015
Warning:  Earth is surrounded by electrons that can be disruptive to our technology.
Escape of the Destructive Electrons Poster
Oct 20, 2015
For an astronomer, discovering a comet can be the highlight of a lifetime.  Great comets carry the names of their discoverers into history.  Comet Halley, Comet Lovejoy, Comet Hale-Bopp are just a few examples…. Imagine the frustration, though, if every time you discovered a comet, it... Read More
Thousands of Doomed Comets Poster
Sun, Solar System
Sep 22, 2015
In the days before light bulbs, farmers relied on moonlight to help them harvest their crops.  Many crops ripen all at once in late summer and early autumn so farmers found themselves extremely busy at this time of year. They had to work after sundown.  Moonlight became an essential part... Read More
Sep 11, 2015
As any backcountry hiker knows, Global Positioning System, or GPS, trackers are crucial for navigation. But they can also be a little finicky.  Units sometimes lose lock when you walk into the shadow of a canyon wall, when you point the units at the ground, or even when you make a sharp turn... Read More
Universe, Sun, Solar System
May 5, 2015
May 5, 2015:  As May of 2015 unfolds, Halley's Comet is more than 5 billion kilometers from Earth, receding into the inky blackness of the outer solar system, where its looping orbit takes it every 76 years.  Dim and distant, history's most famous comet won't be back until sometime... Read More
Sun, Solar System
Apr 21, 2015
April 21, 2015:  On April 22nd, millions of people around the world will gather together at festivals and other events to celebrate our beautiful blue planet. It’s Earth Day, an occasion to pause, reflect, and talk about how to sustain a clean, healthy environment on Earth. This year, Earth... Read More
Sun, Solar System
Mar 30, 2015
March 30, 2015:  It's déjà vu all over again. For the third time in less than a year, sky watchers in the United States can see a total eclipse of the Moon.  The action begins at 3:16 AM Pacific Daylight Time on the morning of April 4th when the edge of the Moon first enters the amber... Read More
Universe, Sun
Mar 19, 2015
March 19, 2015:  When you attach the prefix "nano" to something, it usually means "very small." Solar flares appear to be the exception. Researchers are studying a type of explosion on the sun called a 'nanoflare.'  A billion times less energetic than ordinary flares, nanoflares have a... Read More
X-rays stream off the sun
Universe, Sun
Mar 10, 2015
March 10, 2015:  Magnetic reconnection could be the Universe's favorite way to make things explode. It operates anywhere magnetic fields pervade space--which is to say almost everywhere. In the cores of galaxies, magnetic reconnection sparks explosions visible billions of light-years away.... Read More
Earth, Sun, Solar System
Feb 6, 2015
Feb 6, 2015: Every 13 months, Earth and Jupiter have a close encounter.  Astronomers call it an "opposition" because Jupiter is opposite the Sun in the sky. Our solar system’s largest gas planet rises in the east at sunset, and soars overhead at midnight, shining brighter than any star in the... Read More