Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder are already reaping the fruits of their participation in an ongoing space mission that is traveling faster and sailing closer to the Sun than any spacecraft has traveled before.
You can't tell from Earth, but the Sun's outer atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter than its surface — it's a long-standing mystery that astrophysicists have been working on for years, and now we might just have an answer.
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.