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Visualising the 9 March total solar eclipse

14 February 2016 Astronomy Now

The total solar eclipse of Wednesday, 9¬†March 2016 is of relatively long duration — 4m 9s at greatest eclipse — which occurs at 1:57 UT. Totality is visible from Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and the North Pacific Ocean, while the partial phases can be seen from East Asia, Australia and the Pacific Ocean. See the event unfold in these new NASA timelapse visualisations.

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Understanding pulsating aurorae

8 October 2015 Astronomy Now

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurorae boreales, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the dancing aurorae. Though humans have been seeing aurorae for thousands of years, we have only recently begun to understand what causes them.

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New model could track solar storms 24 hours before reaching Earth

10 June 2015 Astronomy Now

Our Sun is a volatile star, producing giant clouds of solar particles called coronal mass ejections. Now scientists may finally have a tool to predict the magnetic configuration of a CME from afar, enabling forecasters to give utility grid and satellite operators a day’s advance warning to protect their systems.

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Aurora over Icelandic lake

9 April 2015 Astronomy Now

On 15th March, a coronal mass ejection from the Sun launched a torrent of charged particles in the direction of Earth. The gaseous cloud collided with our planet’s magnetic field two days later, generating this glorious, shimmering auroral curtain over Iceland photographed by Carlos Gauna.

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The seasons of the Sun

8 April 2015 Astronomy Now

A team of researchers has determined that the Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years. This behaviour affects the approximately 11-year solar cycle, sometimes amplifying solar storms that can buffet Earth’s atmosphere.