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Relive The 'Blood Moon' With These Dazzling Lunar Eclipse Photos

Skywatchers were treated to the second -- and final -- "blood moon" of the year early Wednesday, Oct. 8, and it was quite a show (scroll down for some dazzling photos).<p>A "blood moon" occurs when the reddish hue from a sunset or sunrise reflects onto the moon's surface during a full lunar eclipse, …

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As seen on Cosmos: Solar energy - The Sun’s surface temperature is 5,500° C, and its peak radiation is in visible wavelengths of light. Earth’s effective temperature—the temperature it appears when viewed from space—is -20° C, and it radiates energy that peaks in thermal infrared wavelengths. (Illustration adapted from Robert Rohde.) Incandescent light bulbs radiate 40 to 100 watts. The Sun delivers 1,360 watts per square meter. An astronaut facing the Sun has a surface area of about 0.85 square meters, so he or she receives energy equivalent to 19 60-watt light bulbs. Image Credit

The Sun sported a very long filament (over 30 times the size of Earth) that angled diagonally across its surface for over a week (July 31 - Aug. 6, 2014). Filaments are clouds of cooler gas suspended above the Sun's surface by magnetic forces. They are notoriously unstable and often break apart in just hours or days. So far, this one has held together as it rotated along with the Sun for over a week. The images were taken in the 193 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light and were tinted red instead of its usual brown hue. Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory #nasa #sdo #sun #filament #space #solar

A globular cluster's age revisited: Globular clusters are big balls of old stars that orbit around their host galaxy. It has long been believed that all the stars within a globular cluster form at the about same time, a property which can be used to determine the cluster's age. For more massive globulars however, detailed observations have shown that this is not entirely true - there is evidence that they instead consist of multiple populations of stars born at different times. One of the driving forces behind this behaviour is thought to be gravity: more massive globulars manage to grab more gas and dust, which can then be transformed into new stars. IC 4499 is a somewhat special case. Its mass lies somewhere between low-mass globulars, which show a single generation build-up, and the more complex and massive globulars which can contain more than one generation of stars. By studying objects like IC 4499 astronomers can therefore explore how mass affects a cluster's contents. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #nasa #hst #hubble #stars #science

Here's another look at the summer sun and solar flare on Aug. 24, 2014. The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT on Aug. 24. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This flare is classified as an M5 flare. M-class flares are ten times less powerful than the most intense flares, called X-class flares. Image Credit: NASA/SDO #nasa #sun #solarflare #solar #sdo #solardynamics #space

Our researchers discover new clues to determining the solar cycle. Approximately every 11 years, the sun undergoes a complete personality change from quiet and calm to violently active. The height of the sun’s activity, known as solar maximum, is a time of numerous sunspots, punctuated with profound eruptions that send radiation and solar particles out into the far reaches of space. However, the timing of the solar cycle is far from precise. Since humans began regularly recording sunspots in the 17th century, the time between successive solar maxima has been as short as nine years, but as long as 14, making it hard to determine its cause. Now, researchers have discovered a new marker to track the course of the solar cycle—brightpoints, little bright spots in the solar atmosphere that allow us to observe the constant roiling of material inside the sun. These markers provide a new way to watch the way the magnetic fields evolve and move through our closest star. They also show that a substantial adjustment to established theories about what drives this mysterious cycle may be needed. Image Credit

Solar Flare! Our Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare on Oct. 2, 2014. The solar flare is the bright flash of light on the right limb of the sun. A burst of solar material erupting out into space can be seen just below it. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Image Credit: NASA/SDO #nasa #space #sun #solarflare #sdo #earth #spaceweather #science

Big Bang Mystery Extends Into Nearby Galaxy, Puzzling Cosmologists

Theory suggests stars should contain three times as much lithium as they do.<p>A star cluster some 80,000 light-years from Earth looks mysteriously deficient in the element lithium, just like nearby stars, astronomers reported on Wednesday.<p>That curious deficiency suggests that astrophysicists either …


Solar Storm Heading for Earth May Spark Auroras This Weekend

Changing Planet<p><b>Two powerful solar storm clouds are heading straight for Earth, triggering an aurora alert across northern Europe, Asia, Canada, and the northern United States.</b><p>Two giant flares—the second of which was an X-class, the most powerful of solar blasts—erupted on the sun’s fiery surface on …


Week's Best Space Pictures: A Star Pulses, a Hurricane Rages, and a Planet Sucks

Astronomers catch the blue light from a pulsar, a hurricane makes landfall, and an exoplanet sucks the life out of its star in the week's best space pictures.


A twisted blob of solar material – a hot, charged gas called plasma – can be seen erupting off the side of the sun on Sept. 26, 2014. The image is from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, focusing in on ionized Helium at 60,000 degrees C. Image Credit: NASA/SDO