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A huge solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 6, 2017. A separate image of the Earth provides scale. NASA/GSFC/SDO

Massive sunspots and huge solar flares mean unexpected space weather for Earth

At a time in the sun's cycle when space weather experts expect less solar activity, our star is going bonkers with solar flares and coronal mass ejections. What effects will Earth feel?
An artist’s illustration of Kappa Ceti whose stellar winds are 50 times stronger than our sun’s. Any Earth-like planet would need a magnetic field to protect its atmosphere if it was to stand a chance of hosting life. M. Weiss/CfA

What the ‘weather’ is like on a star can help in the search for life

In the search for life on other planets in the universe we need to find the right kind of star, and it needs to have the right kind of space weather.
GPS is used in many devices to help us navigate. Flickr/daveynin

Predicting daily space weather will help keep your GPS on target

It’s well known that severe space weather events – which are quite rare – can have a negative impact on our use of Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled devices. But our research, published in Geophysical…
Ten Earths could be laid across the diameter of the gigantic sunspot in AR2191 during its previous rotation – captured on October 23, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory

Giant sunspot returns – and it’s bigger and badder than ever

The largest sunspot seen in 24 years is rotating back to face the Earth, and it looks to have grown even bigger. Last month, the solar active region known as AR12192 (also known as AR2192 to some of its…

Prepare yourself – wild solar weather ahead

During the early hours of this morning (3:42am AEST) our sun released a strong solar flare. It follows right on the heels of a more moderate flare that was released from the same region of the sun on Tuesday…
Like Icarus, passengers on aircraft during solar flares can cop the effects of flying close to the sun. HK.Colin/Flickr

Are you a frequent flyer? Solar storm radiation can be harmful

Space weather impacts many modern-day technologies. But one of the most concerning – and least reported – space weather effects is the increased radiation exposure to passengers on commercial long-distance…
How will Earth weather solar storms while the sun flips its magnetic field? NASA Goddard Photo and Video

A solar magnetic reversal means there’s no need to flip out – yet

You may have read the sun’s magnetic field is heading for a change in field polarity - meaning it will flip upside down - and could have ripple effects throughout the entire solar system. So what does…
Lucky it’s pointing the wrong way this time. Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center

Solar storms could lead to a global techno-meltdown

In 1859, from August 28 to September 2, we were given an important lesson about how vulnerable we are to the Sun’s power. The Carrington Event, named for the amateur astronomer who recorded it, Richard…
A giant flare blasts solar wind and plasma towards Earth. NASA

Huge space storm could disrupt power grids, GPS, flights

The biggest space storm in five years is hurtling towards Earth at more than 2000 km per second. Two bursts of solar wind…

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