Solar Events

Solar System

Hinode sends back its first solar images

The japanese solar observation satellite Hinode (previously know as Solar-B) is sending back its first pictures.

From the SOT (Solar Optical Telescope):


And from the XRT (X-ray Telescope):


More details on the NASA website here.

Hinode is one of an internationally planned fleet of solar observing spacecraft, which includes Stereo, a recently launched NASA mission that will gather three-dimensional imagery.

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Filming the Sun in 3d

US space agency Nasa has launched two spacecraft that are expected to make the first 3D movies of the Sun.

The Stereo mission will study violent eruptions from our parent star known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The eruptions create huge clouds of energetic particles that can trigger magnetic storms, disrupting power grids and air and satellite communications.


The mission is expected to help researchers forecast magnetic storms - the worst aspects of “space weather”.

“Coronal mass ejections are a main thrust of solar physics today,” said Mike Kaiser, the Stereo project scientist at the US space agency’s (Nasa) Goddard Space Flight Center. “With Stereo, we want to understand how CMEs get started and how they move through the Solar System.”

Stereo solar observation mission - details

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Ozone layer depletion reaches all time high

This fall, when the ozone layer depletion peaked for the year, the area of the “hole” or depletion zone equalled the highest ever measured, in September 2000.

Our anti-pollution measures have not yet initiated a downward trend, and indeed the situation is not predicted to start improving until around 2020, even assuming we all do our best.

It may return to normal (ie pre-1979 levels) around 2070, but until then ozone depletion is something we have to live with and maybe more of us will have to take sun protection seriously, and look at sun protection clothing and cremes. SPF looks like three letters we will all get to know only too well.


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The Solar System just “lost” a Planet !

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a “dwarf planet,” a designation that will also be applied to the spherical body discovered last year by California Institute of Technology planetary scientist Mike Brown and his colleagues. The decision means that only the rocky worlds of the inner solar system and the gas giants of the outer system will hereafter be designated as planets.

Link to Science Daily Article

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