A Powerful Solar Storm Likely Detonated Dozens of US Sea Mines During the Vietnam War

An analysis of recently declassified US military documents confirms suspicions that, during the late stages of the Vietnam War, a powerful solar storm caused dozens of sea mines to explode. It’s a stark reminder of the Sun’s potential to disrupt our technological activities in unexpected ways. Read More >>

An Earth-Sized Space Shield to Protect Us From Solar Storms Is Less Crazy Than It Sounds

Every 100 years or so, our Sun gives off a great big belch that sends an intense wave of charged particles towards Earth. This wasn’t a problem in the past, but our high-tech civilisation is now disturbingly vulnerable to these solar storms. A new study quantifies the economic risks posed by these extreme solar storms, while also proposing a super-futuristic solution to the problem: an Earth-sized shield built in outer space. Read More >>

Cold War Nuclear Explosions Freakishly Impacted Space Weather

The overdrawn game of nuclear chicken between the USSR and the United States—now known as the Cold War—lasted about 45 years. While neither superpower ever deployed nukes on each others’ soil, high-altitude bomb testing caused a kerfuffle in Earth’s atmosphere. Though the conflict has (thankfully) long since ended, newly declassified information suggests it might have impacted space weather in ways we never anticipated. Read More >>

Groundbreaking Sun Observation Could Revolutionise Space Weather Prediction

Space weather forecasting—predicting the kind of energetic particles the Sun will throw at us—is years behind weather forecasting here on Earth. As solar physicist Scott McIntosh put it, “Our current model of space weather forecasting is, ‘oh shit a sunspot happened eight minutes ago, now we have to figure out what’s going to happen.” It’s a shame we’re not better at predicting space weather, since it can bust up satellites and even electronics on Earth. Read More >>

New Space Weather Warning System Could Buy Astronauts Precious Extra Time

Space weather is dangerous. Rogue high-energy particles fired off by the Sun can damage radio communications and electronics here on Earth. By altering their DNA, the radiation can also be a true health hazard to astronauts and even aeroplane pilots. Read More >>

Space Weather Can Alter Electronic Voting Machines

When all sources of errors have been ruled out and 4,096 phony votes have still been given to a candidate, who do you blame? In some cases, these kinds of glitches may be coming from outer space, according to scientists who discussed this cosmic conundrum today at the annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences in Boston. Just to be clear, this does NOT mean that aliens influenced the 2016 US election. Read More >>

It Rains Rubies and Sapphires on This Distant Jupiter-Like Planet

A Jupiter-like planet located 1,000 light-years from Earth is exhibiting some rather strange meteorological behaviour. The clouds on this planet appear to be made from corundum — the same mineral that produces rubies and sapphires. Read More >>

We’ve Never Seen The Solar Wind Like This Before

Like an endless blaze roaring forth from the gates of hell, the solar wind is majestic, awe inspiring, and terrifying. The only proof you need that the Sun is the one and true master of our solar system is this never-before-seen view of a torrent of charged particles bursting out of our star’s corona. Read More >>

A Solar Flare Almost Caused Nuclear War in 1967

On May 23rd, 1967, the United States Air Force scrambled to ready nuclear missile-laden aircraft for deployment. Radar systems designed to detect incoming Soviet missiles had just been disrupted, in what the military perceived to be an act of war. But before any nukes were launched in retaliation, it seems Air Force command was told to stand down. Read More >>

Jupiter’s Northern Lights Look Absolutely Incredible

If you want to see beautiful auroras, forget Alaska, Canada, and Iceland—check out Jupiter. At the gas giant’s north pole, the most powerful and luminous northern lights in the solar system shimmer and glow in an endless geomagnetic storm that’s larger than our entire planet. Read More >>

Astronomers Might Have Just Solved a Key Mystery About the Origin of Life

If a massive solar storm struck the Earth today, it could wipe out our technology and hurl us back to the dark ages. Lucky for us, events like this are quite rare. But four billion years ago, extreme space weather was probably the norm. And rather than bringing the apocalypse, it might have kickstarted life. Read More >>

A Major Mystery About Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Just Been Solved

For the first time, physicists have observed a mysterious process called magnetic reconnection—wherein opposing magnetic field lines join up, releasing a tremendous burst of energy. The discovery, published today in Science, may help us unlock the secrets of space weather and learn about some of the weirdest, most magnetic objects in the universe. Read More >>

Something Weird and Amazing is Happening at Jupiter’s North Pole

If you were soaring through Jupiter’s turbid skies wearing a pair of x-ray goggles, you might get lucky and witness something incredible. Brilliant flashes of light, more luminous and powerful than the Sun, occurring every 26 minutes and stretching as far as the eye can see. That’s the essence of a massive solar storm recently witnessed for the first time near Jupiter’s north pole. Read More >>

The Space Weather New Horizons Had to Fly Through to Get to Pluto is Very Strange

New Horizons returned some amazingly detailed shots and data of Pluto over the course of its mission — but just what did it have to fly through to get there? So, so much strangeness. Read More >>

Solar Storm Defence Plans are Finally Hotting Up

Earthquakes, droughts, and hurricanes are all-too-familiar global occurrences to which societies have grown defensive by educating citizens and coming up with clever infrastructure design. But space weather represents a growing threat to our tech-driven society and it seems finally that the issue is being taken seriously by the world's governments. Read More >>