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ALMA starts observing the Sun

17 January 2017 Stephen Clark

New images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile have revealed otherwise invisible details of our Sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted centre of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.

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Curious tilt of the Sun traced to undiscovered Planet Nine

20 October 2016 Astronomy Now

Planet Nine — the undiscovered planet at the edge of the solar system that was predicted by the work of Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown in January 2016 — appears to be responsible for the unusual tilt of the Sun. The large and distant planet may be adding a wobble to the solar system, giving the appearance that the Sun is tilted slightly.

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Wall of Plasma by Eric Toops

29 August 2016 Astronomy Now

A searing solar prominence extends outwards from the surface of the Sun. The ‘wall of plasma’ is the height of three times the Earth’s diameter.

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Britain’s pre-Stonehenge megaliths were aligned by astronomers

19 August 2016 Astronomy Now

For the first time, astroarchaeologists have statistically proven that the earliest standing stone monuments of Britain — the great circles — were constructed specifically in line with the movements of the Sun and Moon, 5000 years ago. University of Adelaide researchers used innovative 2-D and 3-D technology to test the patterns of alignment in the standing stones.

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ACT system tracks solar eruptions in 3-D

29 June 2016 Astronomy Now

Scientists at Aberystwyth University have developed an automated method for three-dimensional tracking of massive eruptions from the Sun, called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). The Automated CME Triangulation (ACT) system uses data from three space-based observatories that orbit the Sun at different locations, allowing scientists to view the Sun and CMEs from different angles.

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Mercury and International Space Station transit the Sun

1 June 2016 Astronomy Now

French astrophotographer Thierry Legault travelled to the suburbs of Philadelphia, USA to capture both the International Space Station and planet Mercury transiting the Sun on 9 May. This image includes multiple stacked frames to show the Station’s path in the fraction of a second it took to cross the Sun, while Mercury appears as a black dot at bottom-centre.

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Sun’s adolescent storms may have been key to life on Earth

24 May 2016 Astronomy Now

Some 4 billion years ago, the Sun shone with only about three-quarters the brightness we see today, but its surface roiled with giant eruptions spewing enormous amounts of radiation into space. These powerful solar explosions may have provided the crucial energy needed to create greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere, warming the planet and incubating life.