The sun is becoming active again as it enters Solar Cycle 25. This week, scientists' predictions of sunspots were proven via photos from astronomers around the world. Giant sunspot AR2786 can be viewed with proper filters and may create strong flares that reach Earth.
Solar storms pose risks for society, but more accurate space weather forecasts appear to be coming soon. A team of researchers in Japan has developed a physics-based method for predicting large solar flares, including powerful and potentially dangerous X-flares.
Solar Orbiter swept as close as 50 million miles (77 million km) to our sun's surface. Now scientists are at work testing the spacecraft’s 10 science instruments, including the 6 telescopes on-board. New images, to be released in mid-July, will be the closest of the sun ever captured.
Solar Orbiter - aka SolO - will take the first direct images of the sun’s poles. Following Sunday's launch, the spacecraft will take a loopy path through the inner solar system, borrowing thrust from the powerful gravitational fields of Earth and Venus.