Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid
- Get Lost in Space! (9/14/2018) - Way back in August, in anticipation of the start of a new school year, I set out to update the pages on this site related to space. Those pages tend to be popular among the teachers and students who use Cosma, and I happen to enjoy updating them, too. It sounded like a short, fun … Continue reading Get Lost in Space!
- Space Art & Junk (1/30/2018) - In certain circles it is not uncommon to trip across the debate “Is graffiti art?” You can also find scads about it online if you are so inclined (Google). However, the debate doesn’t come up all that often in the context of conversations about satellites or space… until now. Earlier this month a company named … Continue reading Space Art & Junk
- Umbraphiles (8/20/2017) - umbraphile : One who loves eclipses, often travelling to see them. — Wiktionary Yes, this is that obligatory post about “The Solar Eclipse” (NASA, Wikipedia). Of course, there had to be one — eclipses really are just too cool to ignore. You’ve already been bombarded with explanations of the science and history of eclipses, but … Continue reading Umbraphiles
- Auroras (7/17/2017) - There was a lot of talk about the potential of seeing Aurora Borealis (a.k.a. the Northern Lights) much further south than usual on Sunday night, but sadly, that didn’t pan out as predicted. The Northern Lights were a letdown in New England (Dialynn Dwyer, Boston.com) For anyone who is bummed about not seeing them, has … Continue reading Auroras
- To touch the Sun (6/1/2017) - The big “space” news this week is that NASA has announced that they renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft the “Parker Solar Probe” in honor of Eugene N. Parker, the astrophysicist from the University of Chicago who predicted the solar wind. The probe is scheduled to launch next summer and become the first mission to … Continue reading To touch the Sun
These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
Sun : (1) the luminous celestial body around which the earth and other planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, which is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, and which has a mean distance from earth of about 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers), a linear diameter of 864,000 miles (1,390,000 kilometers), and a mass 332,000 times greater than earth (2) a celestial body like the Sun — Webster
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process. It is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth. Its diameter is about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. About three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen (~73%); the rest is mostly helium (~25%), with much smaller quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, and iron.
The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star (G2V) based on its spectral class. As such, it is informally referred to as a yellow dwarf. It formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. Most of this matter gathered in the center, whereas the rest flattened into an orbiting disk that became the Solar System. The central mass became so hot and dense that it eventually initiated nuclear fusion in its core. It is thought that almost all stars form by this process.
The Sun is roughly middle-aged; it has not changed dramatically for more than four billion years, and will remain fairly stable for more than another five billion years. After hydrogen fusion in its core has diminished to the point at which it is no longer in hydrostatic equilibrium, the core of the Sun will experience a marked increase in density and temperature while its outer layers expand to eventually become a red giant. It is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large to engulf the current orbits of Mercury and Venus, and render Earth uninhabitable. — Wikipedia
Heliophysics means “physics of the Sun” (the prefix “helio”, from Attic Greek hḗlios, means Sun), and appears to have been used only in that sense until quite recently. In the early times, heliophysics was concerned principally with the superficial layers of the star, and was synonymous with what is now more commonly called “solar physics”. Usage was extended explicitly in 1981 to its literal meaning, denoting the physics of the entire Sun: from center to corona, and has been used in that sense since. — Wikipedia
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Sun News -- ScienceDaily News about the Sun. Science articles on Sunspots and the Sun's Corona; evidence the Sun has a companion star; images from the far side of the Sun and more.
New observations help explain the dimming of...
on September 16, 2019 at 3:40 pm
The overall brightness of Tabby's Star has been gradually dimming for years. A new study suggests chunks of an exomoon's dusty outer layers of ice, gas and carbonaceous rock may be accumulating in a disk, blocking the star's light and making it appear to slowly fade.
Newly discovered comet is likely interstellar...
on September 12, 2019 at 8:14 pm
A newly discovered comet has excited the astronomical community this week because it appears to have originated from outside the solar system. The official confirmation that comet C/2019 Q4 is an interstellar comet has not yet been made, but if it is interstellar, it would be only the second such object detected.
Experiments at temperature of sun offer solutions...
on September 11, 2019 at 8:52 pm
The theoretical model that astrophysicists have used for 40 years to determine the behavior and future of the sun is broken. It seems fixable, however, with information from experiments at Sandia's Z machine, done at the temperature of the sun, that can accurately determine how much energy the sun's components allow to pass through them.
A Goldilocks zone for planet size
on September 11, 2019 at 6:27 pm
Researchers have described a new, lower size limit for planets to maintain surface liquid water for long periods of time, extending the so-called Habitable or 'Goldilocks'' Zone for small, low-gravity planets. This research expands the search area for life in the universe and sheds light on the important process of atmospheric evolution on small planets.
Water detected on an exoplanet located in its...
on September 11, 2019 at 4:19 pm
Astronomers have detected water vapor on the exoplanet K2-18b -- a major discovery in the search of alien life.
Solar Flare News -- ScienceDaily Latest research news on solar flares, the solar cycle, geomagnetic storms and more.
Fluorescent glow may reveal hidden life in the...
on August 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm
Astronomers have uncovered a new way of searching for life in the cosmos. Harsh ultraviolet radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation could trigger a protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to new research.
NASA's MMS finds first interplanetary shock
on August 8, 2019 at 4:38 pm
NASA's MMS mission just made the first high-resolution measurements of an interplanetary shockwave launched from the Sun.
Magnetic plasma pulses excited by UK-size swirls...
on August 5, 2019 at 8:02 pm
Scientists have discovered previously undetected observational evidence of frequent energetic wave pulses the size of the UK, transporting energy from the solar surface to the higher solar atmosphere.
Scientists reproduce the dynamics behind...
on July 30, 2019 at 12:36 pm
Article describes first laboratory measurement of the precursors to high-energy astronomical shocks.
Sun's solar wind and plasma 'burps' created on...
on July 29, 2019 at 3:13 pm
A new study by physicists mimicked solar winds in the lab, confirming how they develop and providing an Earth-bound model for the future study of solar physics.