Sun

A drawing of the aurora observed from Nagoya, Japan, on September 17, 1770. The written description also notes its intensity: “as bright as a night with a full moon.”

How Ancient Texts Can Shed Light on Auroras

Documenting episodes of the phenomenon thousands of years ago may help us predict damaging solar storms in the future

Flights typically soar above the clouds, which means passengers should have an unobstructed view of the total solar eclipse on April 8—regardless of the weather on the ground.

You Can Watch the Solar Eclipse From These Flights Through the Path of Totality

Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines are operating flights on April 8 that could give passengers unobstructed views of the rare celestial spectacle

An illustration of the ERS-2 satellite.

A 5,000-Pound Satellite Is Falling Back to Earth This Week—and Will Likely Land in the Ocean

The reentry of the satellite, called ERS-2, is part of an intentional effort by the European Space Agency to reduce orbital debris

Phobos passes across the sun's surface on February 8, as captured by NASA's Perseverance rover.

What Does a Solar Eclipse on Mars Look Like? New, Breathtaking Images, Caught by NASA's Perseverance Rover, Give Us an Idea

The robot recently observed each of the Red Planet’s moons passing across the sun in the Martian sky

The last total solar eclipse visible from the United States took place on August 21, 2017.

How to Watch the Spectacular Total Solar Eclipse in April 2024

The moon will appear to completely block the sun's light across parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8—here's how to make the most of this rare celestial phenomenon

A photo of Saturn taken by the Hubble Telescope last October. Small dark marks called ring spokes are visible on the planet's left side, just inside the widest black band of space between rings.

What Are These Mysterious Dark 'Spokes' on Saturn's Rings?

A Hubble image highlights the seasonal features, which scientists think could be caused by interactions between the planet's magnetic field and solar wind

Solar eclipse viewers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on October 14, 2023

Nine Dazzling Celestial Events to Watch in 2024

Skywatchers can expect spectacular meteor showers, a comet soaring past Earth and a long-anticipated total solar eclipse

One side of the device was used to tell the date of Easter Sunday.

This Device Might Be England's Oldest Dated Scientific Instrument

The 712-year-old artifact is a horary quadrant, a medieval tool used to tell time based on the position of the sun

The northern lights cast an eerie glow upon an abandoned, wrecked airplane.

These 15 Photos Capture the Beauty of the Northern Lights

Spiking solar activity could mean more chances to see the awesome aurora borealis

In 1958, dozens of red-breasted flycatchers, like the one pictured here, flew off course and visited the United Kingdom.

One Reason Migrating Birds Get Lost Is Out of This World

Solar energy can alter the Earth’s magnetic field and likely lead the animals astray

An annular solar eclipse, captured by the solar optical telescope Hinode as the moon passed between it and the sun.

How to Watch the Annular 'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse on Saturday

A partial eclipse will be visible from all of the continental U.S., but only those in Oregon and the Southwest will have a chance to see the glowing ring

Warming spurred by Earth's next supercontinent could lead to widespread desert conditions, a new modeling study suggests. Pictured is the Tengger Desert in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China.

Earth's Next Supercontinent Could Wipe Out Mammals in 250 Million Years

Termed “Pangea Ultima,” the predicted future landmass might be extremely hot, plagued by volcanoes and largely inhospitable, per a new modeling study

Onlookers watch as a rocket carrying the Aditya-L1 spacecraft launches. The mission will study the sun's outer layers and the influence of solar activity on the solar system.

India Launches Mission to Study the Sun and Space Weather

The Aditya-L1 spacecraft will examine the star's outer layers and aim to shed light on its violent—and potentially damaging—storms

Neptune, captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. A new study finds a link between the planet's cloud coverage and solar activity.

Neptune's Clouds Have Disappeared, and the Sun Might Be Responsible

Scientists have linked shifts in the distant planet's cloud coverage to the ever-oscillating solar cycle, which is due to peak soon

The "cosmic question mark" in an image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope

What Is This 'Cosmic Question Mark' Captured by the James Webb Space Telescope?

Astronomers say the distinct, punctuation-like shape could be a result of galaxies merging

An image of the Ring Nebula captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. The interior of the ring is filled with hot gas and the ring itself is a complex structure made up of thousands of dense clumps of hydrogen gas.

James Webb Telescope Captures the Glowing Ring Nebula in Magnificent Detail

The colorful ring, located some 2,600 light-years away from Earth, is made from the remnants of a dying star

Holland America Line is hosting two solar eclipse cruises, including on aboard the MS Koningsdam.

You Can Watch the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse From Aboard These Cruise Ships

Several cruise lines are offering special sailings for the rare celestial spectacle on April 8, 2024

Focused on the waves, whether real or decorative, a flip-flop-wearing family—and their orca inflatable—heads to the beach.

Get a Dose of Sun, Sand and Sea With These 15 Scenes From the Beach

These highlights from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest are sure to remind you of everything you love about the shore

RCW58, a Wolf-Rayet bubble nebula, is made of ejected material from the star WR 40, which shines at the center of the image.

See Ten Dazzling Space Images From the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards

From comets to nebulas to the Milky Way, the shots shortlisted in the annual competition capture the beauty of the cosmos from Earth

The northern lights as seen through a layer of wildfire smoke in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, in September 2022.

Aurora Borealis Could Dazzle the Northern U.S. This Week

The current forecast from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, says the glowing display could be visible as far as Madison, Wisconsin

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