After 50 years of research, we've discovered a strange, beautiful fact about our Sun: it's more perfectly round than anything else in the natural world. It's not the roundest in a certain category; it's just the roundest sphere there is. If it were a beach ball, The Guardian writes, it would be a hair's width away from complete perfection.
New Yorkers will be given an astronomical treat tonight as the sunset perfectly lines up across the borough of Manhattan, giving a luminescent flare to the south and north sides of every street in town.
A friendly reminder for skywatchers in East Asia and the American West: On Sunday May 20 (May 21st across the date line in Asia) the moon will blot out 94 percent of our star’s early evening light in an annular solar eclipse that should leave a dazzling ring of fire in the sky. The solar eclipse won’t be total because the moon will be near its apogee--its farthest point from Earth in its elliptical orbit--but it should still be pretty spectacular. Click through to SPACE.com for a map of the actual path of the eclipse (in the States it will blaze a trail from northern California down to the Texas panhandle) and remember kids: don’t ever look directly into the sun.
By Bjorn Carey
Posted 04.13.2010 at 2:14 pm 46 Comments
After FYI answered why dumping the world’s nuclear waste into a volcano would be a bad idea in March, our inbox was flooded with readers wondering, “Well, how about shooting it into the sun?”
On paper, this is a fantastic way to wipe our hands clean of all that pesky waste. The sun is a constant nuclear reaction that’s about 330,000 times as massive as Earth; it could swallow the tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear rods as easily as a forest fire consumes a drop of gasoline.
Unfortunately for anyone looking to terraform Mars, a new study shows that powerful waves of solar wind periodically strip the Red Planet of its atmosphere. Scientists had known for years that Mars has atmosphere troubles, but only by analyzing new data from he Mars Express spacecraft were they able to identify the special double solar waves as the specific cause.
Humans have been observing sunspots for over 2,000 years, but never has it been as simple as this. Thanks to NASA's new iPhone app, watching for intense bursts of magnetic radiation is as easy as playing Plants vs. Zombies or checking out the Yelp! review of the closest taco truck.
I wear glasses, but don't own contact lenses. And while this normally doesn't make a difference, staring into the midday sun often leads me to think about switching to contacts simply so I can wear sunglasses.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.