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Pioneering ESA mission aims to create artificial solar eclipses

20 August 2017 Stephen Clark

As skywatchers and scientists converge on a transcontinental band of totality for Monday’s solar eclipse in the United States, engineers in Europe are building a unique pair of satellites to create artificial eclipses lasting for hours — a feat that that could be a boon for solar physicists but will escape the view of Earth-bound spectators.

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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.