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Sun Unleashes Monster Blast—Biggest in a Year

A powerful solar blast uncorked late Monday was the biggest one in a year, report space-weather officials.

Aurora Sky Show Hit and Miss

Hopes were high on Thursday night for skies painted with northern lights. But it was more of a hit or miss sky event, depending on where folks looked. Sky-watchers in the continental U.S., where these sky shows are seldom seen, were hoping to get a glimpse of the aurora borealis this week after the sun…

Watch: Sun Unleashes First Big Flare of 2014, May Create Colorful Aurora Light Show

The new year has started off with a bang, with a powerful solar flare being hurled off the surface of the sun on Tuesday. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and STEREO spacecrafts managed to capture the eruption of a massive X-class flare—the largest type on the Richter scale of solar explosions—as it occurred above a group of sunspots directly…

Dung Beetles Use the Sun to Navigate

Call it a new twist on catching some rays: One species of dung beetle uses sunlight to steer its balls of poop, a new study says.

Ghost of Comet ISON Fading Fast

After initially appearing to revive after whipping around the sun on Thursday, Comet ISON has kept on providing space buffs with a real roller coaster ride. (Related: Comet ISON Barnstorms Sun) But while hopes were raised that the comet might have been only been battered and bruised by its encounter with the sun, it now looks…

Comet ISON Barnstorms Sun

The day of reckoning has finally arrived for Comet ISON, as it slingshots around the sun and we find out whether it survives roasting. Comet ISON today reaches its closest point of approach to the sun, its “perihelion,” at around 1:44 pm EST (18:44 GMT) today. The frozen snowball from the solar system’s outer reaches…

Pictures: The Sun’s Recent Flares

The sun appears to be throwing a bit of a tantrum. With three powerful solar flares and a giant cloud of super-hot plasma hurled toward Earth in the past week, it looks as if our home star is awakening from slumber as it approaches the natural peak of its 11-year cycle, the solar maximum. (Related: “Solar…

Watch: Sun-Diving Comet and Solar Explosion

A tiny comet’s spectacular death dive into the sun has been captured by cameras aboard NASA’s SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory)  sun-monitoring satellite this week. In the early hours of Tuesday, August 20, a comet estimated to be only a few tens of meters across made the kamikaze dive and did not seem to survive…

Sun About To Magnetically Flip

As the sun reaches a crescendo in its 11 year activity cycle this year, it’s also getting ready to go topsy-turvy.  The sun’s global magnetic field is about to reverse—flipping its orientation so that north becomes south and south becomes north. Astronomers estimate that we may be only three or four months away from this mysterious…

Top 10 Headlines Today: Volcanoes ‘Scream,’ Blackbeard’s Treasure Found…

The top stories on National Geographic’s radar today: Volcanoes are found to ‘scream’ at higher and higher frequencies until they explode, archaeologists have uncovered Blackbeard’s pirate booty, and…

Top 10 Headlines Today: Telescopic Contact Lens, Australian Skull Mystery…

A roundup of the top 10 stories on National Geographic’s radar today: The world’s first “zooming” contact lens has been invented, the discovery of an ancient white man’s skull in Australia could rewrite history, and …

Top 10 Headlines Today: Fish Use Sign Language, Flu Outbreak Mapped…

On our radar today: Predatory reef fish use sign language to communicate with fellow hunters, researchers have mapped the H7N9 avian flu outbreak’s current locations and its potential spread, and…

Comet Video from Far-side of the Sun

Skywatchers  are still looking up at comet Pan-STARRS, visible in the low western horizon after sunset, but so is NASA’s solar monitoring spacecraft STEREO-B. From its cosmic perch, on the far-side of the Sun, the on-board space telescope snapped hundreds of images of the comet as it rounded the Sun from March 9th to March 16th.…

Nicolaus Copernicus Gets a Google Doodle … And Here’s Why

Copernicus got a Google Doodle! The late, great astronomer, whose birthday is today, February 19, would perhaps be puzzled by Google – but only for a second. Nicolaus Copernicus was never one to shy away from new ideas (get a modern astronomer’s take on Copernicus). If you’d like a little primer on why Copernicus deserves…

National Geographic’s Top 10 Tweets of 2012

What did National Geographic Twitter followers retweet most in 2012? Intriguing transmissions on strange emissions—from the sun as well as wombats—subatomic science, and stargazing. Lots of stargazing.