Solar Summer 2015

Solar flares are bursts of high-energy radiation that cannot get through Earth's atmosphere to affect people on the ground. However, extremely powerful flares can have impacts higher up, triggering temporary radio blackouts and radiation storms that could endanger orbiting astronauts.

Flares are often accompanied by explosions of superheated solar plasma called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Potent CMEs that hit Earth can spawn geomagnetic storms powerful enough to disrupt radio signals, GPS communications and power grids. CMEs also often supercharge the beautiful auroral displays known as the northern and southern lights.

Stephen Hawking believes he’s solved a huge mystery about black holes

On Tuesday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking presented new theories on black holes to a crowd of esteemed scientists and members of the media at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Hawking focused on something called the information paradox, which continues to puzzle scientists who study black holes. In a nutshell, the paradox surrounds the fact that information about the star that formed a black hole seems to be lost inside it, presumably disappearing when the black hole inevitably disappears. These things cannot be lost, according to General Relativity, and physicists generally believe that they aren't really lost. But where does the information go when the black hole that's absorbed it goes kaput?