Approximately every 11 years, the sun undergoes a complete personality change from quiet and calm to violently active. The height of the sun's activity, known as solar maximum, is a time of numerous sunspots, punctuated with profound eruptions that send radiation and solar particles out into the far reaches of space.
Lupus 4, a spider-shaped blob of gas and dust, blots out background stars like a dark cloud on a moonless night in this intriguing new image. Although gloomy for now, dense pockets of material within clouds such as Lupus 4 are where new stars form and where they will later burst into radiant life.
Researchers in Georgia State University's new Astroinformatics program have been awarded $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation to develop software tools that can process large sets of solar astronomy data and allow scientists to perform analyses on scales and detail levels that have not been possible.
Early, fast, turbulent mixing of gas within giant molecular clouds means all stars formed from a single cloud bear the same unique chemical 'tag' or 'DNA fingerprint'. Could such chemical tags help astronomers identify our own Sun's long-lost sibling stars?
The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the solar system and possibly the origin of life itself.
Astronomers have identified the most massive star in our home galaxy's largest stellar nursery, the star-forming region W49. The star, named W49nr1, has a mass between 100 and 180 times the mass of the Sun.
For the first time in the history of solar research, scientists have successfully measured solar energy at the instant of creation inside the sun. In the Gran Sasso underground laboratory, physicists of the Borexino Collaboration are for the first time ever directly observing the neutrinos created during the fusion of two hydrogen nuclei and the resultant production of heavy hydrogen.
Astronomers have uncovered for the first time the earliest stages of a massive galaxy forming in the young Universe. The growing galaxy core is blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate.
The field of astrophysics has a stubborn problem and it's called lithium. The quantities of lithium predicted to have resulted from the Big Bang are not actually present in stars. But the calculations are correct - a fact which has now been confirmed for the first time in experiments conducted at the underground laboratory in the Gran Sasso mountain in Italy.