ANIMATION The visible surface of the Sun, or the photosphere, is around 6,000°C. But a few thousand kilometers above it – a small distance when we consider the size of the Sun – the solar atmosphere, also called the corona, is hundreds of times hotter, reaching a million degrees celsius or […]

Two groups of fibrils, marked L2 and L4, converge and reconnect with each other. Two sets of newly formed fibrils, marked L1 and L3, then appear and retract from the reconnection region. Credit: LI Leping   ENLARGE Magnetic reconnection refers to the reconfiguration of magnetic field geometry. It plays an elemental […]

Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the solar wind, guiding the solar particles to the polar regions. SOHO (ESA & NASA) Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like […]

Parker Solar Probe observed switchbacks — traveling disturbances in the solar wind that caused the magnetic field to bend back on itself — an as-yet unexplained phenomenon that might help scientists uncover more information about how the solar wind is accelerated from the Sun. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual […]

Sometimes the sun spits out high-energy particles which slam into the Earth, potentially disrupting our sensitive electronics. New research has found that these particles originate in the plasma of the sun itself, and are trapped there by strong magnetic fields. When those fields weaken, the particles blast out. The sun […]

A rendering of Parker Solar Probe as it circles the sun—closer to a star than any spacecraft has ever ventured. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben During Parker Solar Probe’s seventh swing by the Sun, culminating in its closest solar approach, or perihelion, on January 17, 2021, celestial geometry posed a […]

A coronal mass ejection, or CME, erupting into space on August 31, 2012. Pictured here is a blended version of the 171 and 304 angstrom wavelengths taken from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Note: the Earth is not this close to the sun, this image is for scale purposes only. Credit: […]

The chromosphere, photographed during the 1999 total solar eclipse. The red and pink hues – light emitted by hydrogen – earned it the name chromosphere, from the Greek “chrôma” meaning color. Credit: Luc Viatour For decades after its discovery, observers could only see the solar chromosphere for a few fleeting […]