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NASA's SDO captures images of 2 mid-level flares

NASA's SDO captures images of 2 mid-level flares

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

Yellowstone's thermal springs -- their colors unveiled

Yellowstone's thermal springs -- their colors unveiled

WASHINGTON D.C., December 19, 2014 - Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of Yellowstone National Park's hot springs and can visually recreate how they appeared years ago, before decades of tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus.

The model, and stunning pictures of the springs, appear today in the journal Applied Optics, which is published by The Optical Society (OSA).

NASA's IMAGE and Cluster missions reveal origin of theta auroras

NASA's IMAGE and Cluster missions reveal origin of theta auroras

Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the sun's effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood. Thanks to the joint European Space Agency and NASA's Cluster mission combined with data from a past NASA mission called the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration, or IMAGE, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained.

Origin of long-standing space mystery revealed

Origin of long-standing space mystery revealed

A University of Southampton researcher has helped solve a long standing space mystery - the origin of the 'theta aurora'.

Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun's effect on Earth. They are seen as colourful displays in the night sky, known as the Northern or Southern Lights. They are caused by the solar wind, a stream of plasma - electrically charged atomic particles - carrying its own magnetic field, interacting with the earth's magnetic field.

NASA/USGS satellite sees green-up along Colorado River's Delta after experimental flow

NASA/USGS satellite sees green-up along Colorado River's Delta after experimental flow

Although most of the water soaked into the ground in the 37 miles below the dam, the river's surface flow reached areas farther downstream that had been targeted for restoration, and groundwater revived vegetation along the entire route to the sea.

Kepler proves it can still find planets

Kepler proves it can still find planets

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Kepler spacecraft's death was greatly exaggerated. Despite a malfunction that ended its primary mission in May 2013, Kepler is still alive and working. The evidence comes from the discovery of a new super-Earth using data collected during Kepler's "second life."

"Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kepler has been reborn and is continuing to make discoveries. Even better, the planet it found is ripe for follow-up studies," says lead author Andrew Vanderburg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

'Perfect storm' quenching star formation around a supermassive black hole

'Perfect storm' quenching star formation around a supermassive black hole

High-energy jets powered by supermassive black holes can blast away a galaxy's star-forming fuel, resulting in so-called "red and dead" galaxies: those brimming with ancient red stars yet containing little or no hydrogen gas to create new ones.

Quantum world without queues could lead to better solar cells

In a recent study from Lund University in Sweden, researchers have used new technology to study extremely fast processes in solar cells. The research results form a concrete step towards more efficient solar cells.

The upper limit for the efficiency of normal solar cells is around 33 per cent. However, researchers now see a possibility to raise that limit to over 40 per cent, thereby significantly improving the potential of this energy source.

Moms of food-allergic kids need dietician's support

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (December 18, 2014) - Discovering your child has a severe food allergy can be a terrible shock. Even more stressful can be determining what foods your child can and cannot eat, and constructing a new diet which might eliminate entire categories of foods.

Big data may be fashion industry's next must-have accessory

Big data may be the next new thing to hit the fashion industry's runways, according to a team of researchers.

By analyzing relevant words and phrases from fashion reviews, researchers were able to identify a network of influence among major designers and track how those style trends moved through the industry, said Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State.