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NASA directly observes fundamental process of nature for first time

14 May 2016 Astronomy Now

Like sending sensors up into a hurricane, NASA has flown four spacecraft through an invisible maelstrom in space, called magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is one of the prime drivers of space radiation and so it is a key factor in the quest to learn more about our space environment and protect our spacecraft and astronauts as we explore farther and farther from our home planet.

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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.