The waxing and waning of sunspots form part of our Sun's natural cycle, but it's a phenomenon astronomers still don't fully understand. Now, new research has revealed that particular "terminator" events are what brings sunspot cycles to an end, and it means we could get better at predicting them.
All stars die, and eventually — in about five billion years — our Sun will, too. Once its supply of hydrogen is exhausted, the final, dramatic stages of its life will unfold, as our host star expands to become a red giant and then tears its body to pieces to condense into a white dwarf.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the first to be discovered by scientists. Although Uranus is visible to the naked eye, it was long mistaken as a star because of the planet's dimness and slow orbit. The planet is also notable for its dramatic tilt, which causes its axis to point nearly directly at the Sun.
New data from NASA's Cassini mission, combined with measurements from the two Voyager spacecraft and NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, suggests that our Sun and planets are surrounded by a giant, rounded system of magnetic field from the Sun — calling into question the alternate view of the solar magnetic fields trailing behind the Sun in the shape of a long comet tail.