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Parker Solar Probe launch

Solar System

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Launches to "Touch the Sun"

The unique Parker Solar Probe launched on Sunday, August 12th, set to fly faster and come closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it.


Explore the Night with Bob King

Quest for the Green Flash

If you like sunrises and sunsets, look for the green flash, a phenomenon that happens more often that you think.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Walking with Arcturus

Stars are time machines that can transport us into the past or future. They can also illuminate our own personal journeys, as Arcturus did for me one night.

Orbital Path Podcasts with Michelle Thaller

Orbital Path Podcast: Journey to the Sun

Nicki Viall, a heliophysicist at Goddard Space Flight Center, shares her excitement over the Parker Solar Probe — the spacecraft that will allow scientists to "touch" the Sun.

Celestial News & Events

Giant Sunspots, Flares Presage Arrival of Solar Storm

Two big, naked-eye sunspot groups are putting on a splendid show this week. We're also in the crosshairs for a strong geomagnetic storm and possible auroras.

cutaway of Sun

Stellar Science

Sun's Waves Reveal Core's Spin

Solar astronomers may have finally detected gravity waves in our star’s core, revealing that the Sun’s central region rotates about four times faster than the outer layers.

Spotless Sun

Solar System

Is Our Sun Slowing Down in Its Middle Age?

The Sun, now halfway through its life, might be slowing its magnetic activity, which could lead to permanent changes in the sunspots and auroras we see.

Magnetic manifestations

Celestial Objects to Observe

Fun in the Sun: A White-Light Guide to Our Nearest Star

We examine the fascinating solar phenomena that anyone with a small scope and safe solar filter can see, whether the Sun's in eclipse or not.

Parker Solar Probe

Solar System

NASA's Parker Solar Probe to Touch the Sun

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, set to launch in 2018, will be humanity's first effort to "touch the Sun," revolutionizing our understanding of the Sun's corona, the solar wind, and the greater heliosphere.

Solar System

Scientists Recreate Space Weather of 400 Years Ago

Scientists are studying 400-year-old data to predict space weather in the coming decades — and it seems that future may hold fewer Northern Lights.

Celestial News & Events

The Spotless Sun

The Sun has been unusually quiet lately. Since the start of 2017, only a single tiny sunspot has made a brief appearance on the solar disk.

Low Sun, Long Shadows and Icy Atmospherics

Explore the Night with Bob King

Swing Low, Sweet Sun: It's Solstice Time

Daylight ebbs to a minimum on Wednesday's winter solstice, but not for long. The very next day, the Sun turns back north and the cycle of light begins again.

Coronal mass ejection

Orbital Path Podcasts with Michelle Thaller

Orbital Path 10: Done in the Sun

Michelle Thaller speaks with NASA's Alex Young about the space agency's impressive fleet of Sun-monitoring spacecraft — including the upcoming Solar Probe Plus.


Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

The Return of Stereo B?

Feared lost for almost two years, NASA's Stereo B solar observatory is now back in (tentative) contact with mission control.

Galileo sunspot drawing

Solar System

Seeing Sunspots as Early Astronomers Did

Astronomers have reconstructed 18-century telescopes to observe sunspots and better understand solar cycles.

Monster in our midst


Observer's Guide to the H-alpha Sun

Want to see a star rock in real time? Observe the Sun in the crimson light of hydrogen alpha and watch it come alive.

Faculae along solar limb on July 18, 2014


Blank Sun? Faculae to the Rescue!

Fascinating faculae provide a way for anyone with a small telescope to track the ups and downs of the solar cycle — even when there are no sunspots.

Sunspot cycle

Stellar Science

The Weakest Solar Cycle in 100 Years

Scientists are struggling to explain the Sun’s bizarre recent behavior. Is it a fluke, or a sign of a deeper trend?

Stargazing Basics

How to Make a Sundial the Simple Way

Sundials are amazingly simple yet effective devices. They range from sticks planted in the ground to precision-machined marvels costing thousands of dollars. The design shown here can be constructed in minutes from materials lying around your house, but it's surprisingly accurate.

Astronomy Questions & Answers

What is a Sundog, and How Did "Sundogs" Get Their Name?

Why are "sundogs" called by that name? Bob Johnson / SkyandTelescope.com Photo Gallery Before answering the why question, let me answer the what question that comes before: namely, what is a sundog, or mock Sun, in the first place? A sundog is a concentrated patch of sunlight occasionally seen about…