jul 192012
NASA will Study Plasma in Earth's Atmosphere

  Our day-to-day lives exist in what physicists would call an electrically neutral environment. Desks, books, chairs and bodies don’t generally carry electricity and they don’t stick to magnets. But life on Earth is substantially different from, well, almost everywhere else. Beyond Earth’s protective atmosphere and extending all the way through interplanetary space, electrified particles [continue reading]

jul 172012
A 'Low-Field Magnetar' Discovered

  Is it a magnetar or is it a pulsar? A second member of a rare breed of dead, spinning star has been identified thanks to an armada of space-based X-ray telescopes, including ESA’s XMM-Newton.  A magnetar or a pulsar? Credit: ESA–C. Carreau Magnetars are a type of neutron star, the dead cores of massive stars [continue reading]

jul 162012
Astrosat Will Study the Universe at Multi-Wavelengths

  Astrosat, the astronomy satellite India will put in polar circular orbit in 2013, will study the Universe at multi-wavelengths for the first time. Astrosat, the multi-wavelength astronomy satellite. Credit: ISRO. “The Astrosat mission will study for the first time the cosmic sources of the vast Universe at optical, ultraviolet and X-ray wavebands simultaneously,” state-run Indian Space [continue reading]

jul 042012
Oh, Baby! A Rapidly Spinning Protostar Shows Off Her X-ray Spots

  X-ray observations have revealed something curious about the young star that illuminates McNeil’s Nebula, a glowing jewel of cosmic dust in the Orion constellation: The object is a protostar rotating once a day, or 30 times faster than the sun. The stellar baby also has distinct birthmarks—two X-ray-emitting spots, where gas flows from a [continue reading]

jul 032012
Magnetic Fields on the Sun will be Studied by SUMI

  On July 5, NASA will launch a mission called the Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation or SUMI, to study the intricate, constantly changing magnetic fields on the Sun in a hard-to-observe area of the Sun’s low atmosphere called the chromosphere. SUMI’s instruments are designed to study magnetic fields of the sun’s chromosphere — a thin [continue reading]

jun 132012
Spotting Ultrafine Loops in the Sun's Corona

  A key to understanding the dynamics of the sun and what causes the great solar explosions there relies on deciphering how material, heat and energy swirl across the sun’s surface and rise into the upper atmosphere, or corona. Tracking the constantly moving material requires state-of-the-art telescopes with the highest resolution possible.  An image of [continue reading]