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People Are Freaking Out About 2017 Solar Eclipse

It's predicted to be a once-in-a-lifetime event

(Newser) - It's still 10 months away, but sky gazers are already bursting with excitement—and booking vacations—over what is predicted to be "one of the most spectacular and widely accessible solar shows of our lifetime," per Mother Nature Network . On Aug. 21, 2017, the US will be... More »

9th Planet May Solve 'Mystery' of Our Solar System

It could explain why orbits are tilted 6 degrees

(Newser) - New research may have solved a "deep-rooted mystery" about our solar system and lent credence to the theory that there's a ninth planet chilling beyond Pluto. (Sorry, buddy.) Researchers at Caltech, including Konstantin Batygin and Mike "Pluto Killer" Brown (who first floated the "Planet Nine"... More »

The Sun Nearly Caused Nuclear War in 1967

Solar flares made it seem like the USSR was jamming US radars

(Newser) - The sun was nearly responsible for the Cold War going nuclear 50 years ago, according to a study released this week. On May 23, 1967, three US Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar sites seemed to be jammed. CBS News reports it appeared to the US Air Force, which was... More »

A 'Mini Ice Age' Is Coming—and Soon

Study predicts 60% fall in solar activity around 2030

(Newser) - In the words of the Starks , winter is coming—and it's going to be bad. Using a new model to forecast the sun's activity, scientists predict solar activity will fall by 60% in the 2030s to conditions not seen since a "mini ice age" in 1645. For... More »

Woman Sues eBay, Claims to Own the Sun

A Spanish court will hear her case

(Newser) - Next month, a Spanish court will hear arguments in a most unusual case: A woman who claims to own the sun has sued eBay for blocking her extraterrestrial real estate sales. Though it sounds a little nuts, a court in Madrid has ruled that 54-year-old Maria Angeles Duran has the... More »

Each Year, Spring Is a Tiny Bit Shorter

Don't worry, you're only missing half a minute

(Newser) - Prepare for a spring that's about 30 seconds shorter than last year's, which was 30 seconds shorter than the one before. The changing length of the season is related to the tilt of the Earth's axis, LiveScience reports. It's a matter of what's known as... More »

Tomorrow's Rare Eclipse: Beginning of Armageddon?

Superstitions abound as solar eclipse, supermoon, and equinox collide

(Newser) - Three astronomical events are happening tomorrow, and depending on whom you talk to and how superstitious they are, it's either going to be a day filled with good luck or a pretty terrible one. A rare solar eclipse/supermoon/vernal equinox combo will be taking place, with prime eclipse viewing spots... More »

Sun's Activity During Birth Could Affect Your Death

Those born when sun is active may have shorter lifespans: study

(Newser) - If the sun was calm when you were born, you might look forward to a longer life than someone born in a period of high solar activity. The sun's cycles last about 11 years, typically including three years of "solar maximum"—when activity like solar flares, sunspots,... More »

Jupiter's Red Spot Isn't What We Thought It Was

Researchers re-create phenomenon in lab

(Newser) - Scientists have made their own version of Jupiter's Great Red Spot in a lab, and it suggests that the spot's cause is very different from what's been postulated. An existing theory holds that the spot is the result of chemicals underneath the planet's clouds. But following... More »

Scientists Puzzled by Huge Sunspot

Magnetic burst deemed 'too complicated for us' to grasp

(Newser) - Scientists scratched their heads this week over a massive sunspot, partly because it posed no threat to human civilization. The burst of solar magnetic activity, one of the biggest on record, whipped up powerful flares but didn't spew coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can bring down Earth's power... More »

Water on Earth Older Than Sun, Earth Itself

Water molecules more than 4.5 billion years old are in our drinking water, oceans

(Newser) - If you live and die by food and beverage expiration dates, you might not want to know how old some of our drinking water is. A study finds that 30% to 50% of the water found in our taps and oceans contains molecules created more than 4.5 billion years... More »

After 10-Year Chase, Space Probe Catches Comet

Spacecraft to be 1st to hook up with a comet in yearlong trip around sun

(Newser) - The thrill is often in the chase itself—though for European Space Agency scientists, there's definitely a thrill in actually catching the object they've been chasing. The Rosetta space probe, which was sent hurtling through space a decade ago to hunt down comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko—aka the "rubber... More »

2012 Solar Blast Nearly Sent Earth to Stone Age

We almost lost electricity, GPS, running water, at least for a while

(Newser) - Imagine life without electricity or running water, and you'll understand what nearly befell our planet two years ago. Scientists say that on July 23, 2012, the sun belched its biggest solar flare in more than 150 years and barely missed us, CBS News reports. A week earlier and the... 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 »

Sun's Long-Lost Brother Found by Astronomers

It was formed in the same cloud of gas as our own sun

(Newser) - Astronomers have discovered that the sun has a long-lost brother. That is, this star was created from the same cloud of dust and gas as our sun, according to a team of researchers led by an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin. And this "brother" even has... More »

Mirrors Deliver Rarity to Norway Town: Sunshine

Residents of Rjukan get to bask, relatively speaking

(Newser) - Next time you walk outside and take for granted that glowing orb in the sky above, think of the residents of Rjukan, Norway. They've had to resort to setting up gigantic mirrors on a mountain to direct sunshine toward the center of town. Today, residents celebrated the mirrors' official... More »

Russia Meteor Had Steamy Past

Scientists suspect it had near-miss with sun

(Newser) - The colossal meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this year had been with other celestial bodies before, scientists say. Analysis of fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteor—the biggest to hit Earth in more than a century —have revealed signs of melting that researchers believed was caused by either a... More »

NASA Spots Solar System's 'Tail'

Much like a comet, our sun leaves a streak in its wake

(Newser) - If you were to look on our solar system from afar, it wouldn't look like a bunch of stationary spheres, but like a comet, streaking across the sky with a tail trailing behind it. Scientists had always assumed this, but now NASA has for the first time gotten a... 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 »

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