Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Solar

  • Observers in western Kentucky treated to stunning view of solar eclipse

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 22nd, 2017

    Eclipse watchers in western Kentucky experienced the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse in a cloudless sky, with one of its longest periods of totality – lasting approximately two minutes and 27 seconds.

  • NASA prepares its Martian explorers for solar conjunction radio silence

    Curt GodwinJuly 16th, 2017

    For more than twenty years, NASA has had explorers surveying the Red Planet. Dutifully, the stalwart robotic travelers have followed commands beamed from their Earth-bound handlers and returned gigabytes of information of their Martian observations.

  • Parker Solar Probe details revealed

    Paul KnightlyJune 1st, 2017

    NASA announced on May 31, 2017, a groundbreaking new mission to explore the Sun at close range. The Parker Solar Probe will launch in 2018 and will spend nearly seven years spiraling in toward the Sun, utilizing Venus for seven gravitational assists before making its closest approach of about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from the Sun's surface.

  • Solar activity controls Ceres’ tenuous atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldApril 7th, 2017

    A new study by scientists working on NASA's Dawn mission indicates Ceres' atmosphere is controlled by solar activity rather than by its relative closeness to the Sun. In observations conducted since the 1990s, the dwarf planet's tenuous atmosphere has mysteriously appeared, disappeared, and reappeared at various times.

  • Sun-observing MinXSS CubeSat to yield new insights into solar flares

    Tomasz NowakowskiNovember 6th, 2016

    A small shoebox-sized satellite has recently proved that studying solar phenomena is not reserved only for large space observatories. The NASA-funded Miniature X-Ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) is providing invaluable information about solar flares coming from the Sun, which could shed new light on these violent and energetic events.

  • NASA re-establishes contact with Sun-observing STEREO-B spacecraft

    Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 23rd, 2016

    After nearly two years of silence, NASA has finally picked up a signal from its wayward STEREO-B probe designed to study the Sun. Contact was lost on Oct. 1, 2014, during a test of the spacecraft’s command loss timer, when the probe was on the other side of the Sun.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: The day the Sun almost caused World War III

    Larry KlaesAugust 14th, 2016

    In the famous Drake Equation, a mathematical formula designed to determine the number of technological civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, the factor L denotes the lifetime that a technological civilization will be sending signals into space – until its own self-destruction.

  • Solar Probe Plus gets green light to proceed

    Curt GodwinAugust 4th, 2016

    NASA's Solar Probe Plus has passed an important design review milestone and can now proceed to assembly and integration in preparation for its scheduled summer 2018 launch date. Currently comprising only a primary structure and propulsion system, the assembly can now move forward with the installation of the remainder of the spacecraft's systems and science instruments.

  • Should we worry about geomagnetic storms caused by solar activity?

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 14th, 2016

    The Sun’s unexpected and unpredictable activity that takes place on its surface throughout the years tell us we should prepare for the worst. Huge explosions of plasma from the Sun’s corona, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), could one day produce extremely powerful geomagnetic storms that could strike Earth with enormous destructive power.

  • Hitching a ride on SLS to study solar particles

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 1st, 2016

    A miniature research spacecraft called the CubeSat to study Solar Particles (CuSP) is one of the projects that will have the opportunity to hitch a ride on the historic first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) in 2018. The microsatellite will observe interplanetary magnetic fields and energetic particles in the solar wind.

  • India’s first solar mission to be launched in 2019–20

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 4th, 2016

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has recently announced that its first solar mission, named Aditya-L1, will be launched in 2019–20. The spacecraft aims to answer fundamental questions in solar physics by studying dynamic processes on the Sun.

  • Skirting Helios: International Space Station transits the Sun

    Jason RhianSeptember 6th, 2015

    NASA photographer Bill Ingalls has made a habit of snapping great images of space-related events. One of Ingalls' recent photos, captured the International Space Station as it passed in front of our home star.

  • Rosetta discovers target comet – is actually two comets in one

    David DarlingJuly 16th, 2014

    The European Space Agency (ESA ) spacecraft Rosetta is rapidly closing on its target – comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – at the start of what promises to be one of the most exciting space exploration missions of the year. Space exploration, like life – is what happens while you are making other plans. Three weeks before Rosetta is […]

  • NASA instruments aboard Rosetta begin science as comet comes alive

    SpaceFlight InsiderJune 14th, 2014

    Since its launch in 2004, Rosetta has been traveling through space, patiently awaiting its mission – a rendezvous and landing on a comet. Composed of an orbiter and lander, the Rosetta spacecraft was awakened from a 957 day hibernation back in January and is slated to be the first vehicle to both orbit and land […]

  • Cassini spies the ice-giant planet Uranus

    NASAMay 9th, 2014

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured its first-ever image of the pale blue ice-giant planet Uranus in the distance beyond Saturn’s rings.