Space Breaking News:

A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. Chandra data from May 2nd, 2017 are seen in the pull-out, which is shown in context of a visible-light image taken from the ground of the Alpha Centauri system and its surroundings. Alpha Centauri is a triple star system located just over four light years, or about 25 trillion miles, from Earth. While this is a large distance in terrestrial terms, it is three times closer than the next nearest Sun-like star. Credits: Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.

Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards

Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards In humanity’s search for life outside our Solar System, one of the best places scientists have considered is Alpha Centauri, a system containing the three nearest stars beyond our Sun. A new study that has involved monitoring of Alpha Centauri for more…

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This illustration shows the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe observing signals from the interaction of the solar wind with the winds of other stars. Credits: NASA

NASA Selects Mission to Study Solar Wind Boundary of Outer Solar System

NASA Selects Mission to Study Solar Wind Boundary of Outer Solar System NASA has selected a science mission planned for launch in 2024 that will sample, analyze, and map particles streaming to Earth from the edges of interstellar space. The Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission will help researchers…

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In a background magnetic field, represented by the cyan arrows, two electrons are propagating to the right, executing identical gyromotion. A circularly polarized electromagnetic wave approaches the upper electron from the left. Credits: NASA

The Case of the Relativistic Particles Solved with NASA Missions

The Case of the Relativistic Particles Solved with NASA Missions Encircling Earth are two enormous rings — called the Van Allen radiation belts — of highly energized ions and electrons. Various processes can accelerate these particles to relativistic speeds, which endanger spacecraft unlucky enough to enter these giant bands of…

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The NASA/ESA Solar Orbiter will capture the very first images of the Sun’s polar regions, where magnetic tension builds up and releases in a lively dance. Launching in 2020, Solar Orbiter’s study of the Sun will shed light on its magnetic structure and the many forces that shape solar activity. Credits: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Sun: NASA/SDO/P. Testa (CfA)

New Views of Sun: 2 Missions Will Go Closer to Our Star Than Ever Before

New Views of Sun: 2 Missions Will Go Closer to Our Star Than Ever Before As we develop more and more powerful tools to peer beyond our solar system, we learn more about the seemingly endless sea of faraway stars and their curious casts of orbiting planets. But there’s only…

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A coronal mass ejection erupts from the sun in 2012. NASA

Space weather threatens high-tech life

Space weather threatens high-tech life A coronal mass ejection erupts from the sun in 2012. NASA Roger Dube, Rochester Institute of Technology Shortly after 4 a.m. on a crisp, cloudless September morning in 1859, the sky above what is currently Colorado erupted in bright red and green colors. Fooled by…

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An artist’s impression of a flare from Proxima Centauri, modeled after the loops of glowing hot gas seen in the largest solar flares. An artist’s impression of the exoplanet Proxima b is shown in the foreground. Proxima b orbits its star 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun. A flare 10 times larger than a major solar flare would blast Proxima b with 4,000 times more radiation than the Earth gets from our Sun’s flares. Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa / Carnegie Institution for Science, NASA/SDO, NASA/JPL

Powerful Flare from Star Proxima Centauri Detected with ALMA

Powerful Flare from Star Proxima Centauri Detected with ALMA Space weather emitted by Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our sun, may make that system rather inhospitable to life after all. Using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of astronomers discovered that a powerful stellar flare…

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On Oct. 24, 2014, NASA’s SDO observed an X-class solar flare erupt from a Jupiter-sized sunspot group. Credits: Tahar Amari et al./Center for Theoretical Physics/École Polytechnique/NASA Goddard/Joy Ng

NASA’s SDO Reveals How Magnetic Cage on the Sun Stopped Solar Eruption

NASA’s SDO Reveals How Magnetic Cage on the Sun Stopped Solar Eruption A dramatic magnetic power struggle at the Sun’s surface lies at the heart of solar eruptions, new research using NASA data shows. The work highlights the role of the Sun’s magnetic landscape, or topology, in the development of…

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An illustration of Kepler-186f, the first Earth-size planet discovered within a star’s habitable zone. Scientists now know of thousands of exoplanets, but our knowledge is limited because we can’t yet view them directly. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Spanning Disciplines in the Search for Life Beyond Earth

Spanning Disciplines in the Search for Life Beyond Earth The search for life beyond Earth is riding a surge of creativity and innovation. Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery over the past two decades, it is time to tackle the next step: determining which of the known exoplanets are…

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A huge solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 6, 2017. A separate image of the Earth provides scale. NASA/GSFC/SDO, CC BY

Massive sunspots and huge solar flares mean unexpected space weather for Earth

Massive sunspots and huge solar flares mean unexpected space weather for Earth A huge solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 6, 2017. A separate image of the Earth provides scale. NASA/GSFC/SDO, CC BY Alexa Halford, Dartmouth College; Brett Carter, RMIT University, and Julie Currie, RMIT…

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This is a reconstructed view of Jupiter’s northern lights through the filters of the Juno Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument on Dec. 11, 2016, as the Juno spacecraft approached Jupiter, passed over its poles, and plunged towards the equator. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Bertrand Bonfond

Jupiter’s Aurora Presents a Powerful Mystery

Jupiter’s Aurora Presents a Powerful Mystery Scientists on NASA’s Juno mission have observed massive amounts of energy swirling over Jupiter’s polar regions that contribute to the giant planet’s powerful aurora – only not in ways the researchers expected. Examining data collected by the ultraviolet spectrograph and energetic-particle detector instruments aboard…

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This artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of Proxima itself. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

An Earth-like Atmosphere May Not Survive Proxima b’s Orbit

An Earth-like Atmosphere May Not Survive Proxima b’s Orbit Proxima b, an Earth-size planet right outside our solar system in the habitable zone of its star, may not be able to keep a grip on its atmosphere, leaving the surface exposed to harmful stellar radiation and reducing its potential for…

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