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.
A break from the buzz: Bees go silent during...
on October 10, 2018 at 2:55 pm
In an unprecedented study of a solar eclipse's influence on bee behavior, researchers organized citizen scientists and elementary school classrooms to set up acoustic monitoring stations to listen in on bees' buzzing -- or lack thereof -- as the August 2017 total solar eclipse passed over North America. The results were clear and consistent at locations across the United States: Bees stopped flying during the period of total solar eclipse. […]
Icy warning for space missions to Jupiter's moon
on October 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm
A location often earmarked as a potential habitat for extra-terrestrial life could prove to be a tricky place for spacecraft to land, new research has revealed. […]
Surprising chemical complexity of Saturn's rings...
on October 4, 2018 at 6:39 pm
A new study based on data from the final orbits last year of NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the rings of Saturn -- some of the most visually stupendous objects in the universe -- are far more chemically complicated than previously was understood. […]
Scientists develop a new way to remotely measure...
on October 4, 2018 at 1:59 pm
By zapping a layer of meteor residue in the atmosphere with ground-based lasers, scientists are getting a new view of Earth's magnetic field. […]
Astronomers find first compelling evidence for a...
on October 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm
On the hunt for distant worlds, researchers have identified an exomoon candidate around the transiting exoplanet Kepler-1625b that indicates the presence of a previously unknown gas-giant moon. […]
Solar Flare News -- ScienceDaily Latest research news on solar flares, the solar cycle, geomagnetic storms and more.
Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern...
on September 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm
Scientists have measured the differential rotation on Sun-like stars for the first time, and their findings challenge current science on how stars rotate. […]
Satellites more at risk from fast solar wind than...
on September 4, 2018 at 2:32 pm
Satellites are more likely to be at risk from high-speed solar wind than a major geomagnetic storm according to a new study. […]
New technique to forecast geomagnetic storms...
on August 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm
Flashes of brightness known as solar flares can be followed by coronal mass ejections that send plasma from the sun into space. These charged particles can then travel to Earth, and when they arrive they wreak havoc on Earth's magnetic field. The result can be beautiful but also destructive: auroras and geomagnetic storms. Researchers now report a method for analyzing magnetic field data that might provide better short-term forecasting of geomagnetic storms. […]
Historic space weather could clarify what's next
on August 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm
Scientists have discovered an underlying repeatable pattern in how space weather activity changes with the solar cycle - having analysed solar activity for the last half century. […]
Parker Solar Probe launches on historic journey...
on August 12, 2018 at 10:50 am
Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible. […]