The 9 May transit of Mercury was widely and successfully observed from large parts of Western Europe, South America and the east of North America. High above the Earth, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, had an uninterrupted view of the entire seven-and-a-half hour event, revealed here in a stunning time-lapse video.
The 2016 transit of Mercury is upon us! With fine weather predicted across a large swathe of the British Isles, many will enjoy clear skies for at least some of this 7½-hour event. But if you don’t have a suitably equipped telescope, or are unable to attend any of the transit-viewing activities organised nationwide, you can still view the phenomenon online.
The alignment of Sun, Moon and Earth resulted in a partial solar eclipse on 13 September, visible only from the southern tip of Africa and Antarctica. But as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, kept up its constant watch on the Sun, its view of the eclipse was photobombed by the Earth — the first time that an Earth eclipse and a lunar transit have coincided.
The Sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:33am BST on 24 August 2015. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the Sun constantly, captured the image of the event shown here. Although harmful radiation from such a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere, intense flares can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
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.