MAVEN reveals speed of solar wind stripping Martian atmosphere

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today. Researchers have determined the rate at which the Martian atmosphere is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind and that the erosion increases significantly during solar storms.


IRIS and Hinode: a stellar research team

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph satellite, or IRIS, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA)/NASA’s Hinode solar observatory, have just made a significant step towards understanding why the corona — the outermost, wispy layer of the Sun’s atmosphere — is hundreds of times hotter than the lower photosphere, which is the Sun’s visible surface.

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Sun emits a mid-level solar flare on 24 August

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.


Corrected sunspot history suggests climate change not due to natural solar trends

The Sunspot Number, the longest scientific experiment still ongoing, is a crucial tool used to study the solar dynamo, space weather and climate change. It has now been recalibrated and shows a consistent history of solar activity over the past few centuries. The new record has no significant long-term upward trend in solar activity since 1700, suggesting that rising global temperatures since the industrial revolution cannot be attributed to increased solar activity.


Diminishing solar activity may bring new Ice Age by 2030

A new ice age is coming — if the prediction of a Lomonosov Moscow State University researcher and her colleagues is correct. A model that accurately predicts variations in the Sun’s magnetic field suggests a sharp decline in solar output during the years 2030-2040, producing conditions similar to that existing during the 17th century Maunder minimum.