solar wind

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Travel Alert: Moon Dirt May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Researchers found that simulated lunar dust killed human lung cells

(Newser) - Spending time on the moon just got a little more complicated. A new study has found that lunar soil is extremely toxic and that even small amounts of lunar dirt could be damaging to lungs, reports Popular Mechanics . Astronauts on the Apollo missions first noticed problems with space dust when... More »

The Sun May Cause Lightning

Solar winds appear to trigger storms

(Newser) - The weather on the sun might just have an effect on the weather here on earth. Fast-moving solar winds tend to go hand-in-hand with an uptick in lightning storms, a new study reveals. The finding is somewhat puzzling as scientists have long believed that increased solar activity led to a... More »

Square 'Hole' Spotted in Sun

Gap in magnetic field is unusual shape

(Newser) - There's a big square "hole" in the sun this week, according to NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The dark spot in the sun's outer atmosphere is a phenomenon known as a "coronal hole," a gap in the magnetic field where solar wind rushes out, reports... More »

Watch a Solar Wave Burst Out of the Sun

Blast thankfully wasn't pointed at Earth

(Newser) - NASA has released a seriously cool video of a massive solar wave—what the cool kids call a "coronal mass ejection"—that its Solar Dynamics Observatory captured over a 2.5-hour stretch yesterday. While these kinds of sun storms have been known to mess with satellites or even... More »

Voyager Nears Edge of Solar System

Spacecraft reaches region where solar winds stop

(Newser) - Some 33 years after it was launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has reached the outer edge of the solar system and is on course to become the first man-made device to sail into the vast stretches of space that lie beyond. Astronomers have confirmed that the spacecraft has reached a... More »

Northern Lights at 100-Year Low

Cycle's low point 'going on and on and on'

(Newser) - The Northern lights are rarer now than they have been for at least a century, but some spectacular light shows are probably on the way, researchers say. The phenomenon, triggered by solar winds, usually follows an 11-year cycle, rising quickly to a maximum before tapering off to a minimum. But... More »

'Solar Tsunami' Hits Earth Today

Wave of plasma expected to produce spectacular light show

(Newser) - Two massive explosions on the sun have sent a wave of supercharged gas racing toward Earth, but people should expect an amazing light show instead of fiery doom, NASA says. The "solar tsunami" probably won't be strong enough to knock out telecommunications equipment, but the plasma is likely to... More »

Huge Holes Found in Earth's Magnetic Shield

The Earth is in for a wild geomagnetic ride

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered two large and unexpected holes in the magnetic field that protects the Earth from solar winds, reports The leaks won't pose any risk to health, but increased disruption to satellites and electrical systems can be expected when the cycle of solar storms reaches its next... More »

Earth Hits Cosmic Pitch

Cacophonous radiation beamed from planet could easily be intercepted by aliens

(Newser) - Earth’s atmosphere produces a natural sound and beams it off into the universe, reports. The sound—a painful series of chirps and whistles—is made by the collision of charged particles from the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field. More »

Solar System Is Dented: Voyager

Intrepid spacecraft finds strange bulges in the heliosphere

(Newser) - Far out in space, a violent boundary zone marks the point where our solar system ends and outer space begins. NASA's Voyager 2 has now confirmed what its sister ship indicated: that this region is squashed and uneven, reports. This shock wave "sloshes back and forth like... More »

10 Stories