Comet Machholz rounds the sun, drops fragments

Comet Machholz made its closest approach to the sun on January 31, 2023. It left behind tiny fragments. Read more about this unusual comet.

Sun activity: The sun has a visitor

Sun activity for January 31, 2023: A quiet sun has a visitor. Comet 96P Machholz approaches our star. Check out this cool animation.

Flashes on the sun might help predict solar flares

Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, scientists have found that flashes on the sun could help them predict the next solar flare.

What makes a giant sunspot?

A giant sunspot - AR 3190 - is crossing the face of the sun this week. It'lll soon disappear, but is still visible as of January 21, 2023. What makes it?

What is a sun pillar, or light pillar?

A sun pillar, or light pillar, is a shaft of light from the sun or other bright light source, caused by ice crystals under the right atmospheric conditions.

Aurora season: Why more auroras at equinoxes?

An aurora season occurs in October and March each year, due to the way the magnetic fields of the sun and the Earth work in conjunction with sun-Earth geometry.

What causes an aurora, the northern or southern lights?

The aurora, or northern and southern lights, occur when charged particles from the sun interact with Earth's magnetic field. Read more here.

CME strikes Solar Orbiter before Venus flyby

On September 4, 2022, during a close flyby of Venus, Solar Orbiter was hit by a large CME. Fortunately, the spacecraft was unharmed.

Limb darkening is an optical effect on the sun

Limb darkening is an effect we can see on the sun where the edges of the sun are darker than the center, due to the amount of photosphere we're looking at.

Geomagnetic storms: Will you lose power where you live?

Scientists studied past geomagnetic storms to learn more about how strong storms affect the power grid. The maps here show areas most at risk.