Because they lie just outside Earth's magnetosphere, Lagrange points are excellent places to study the solar wind.
The sun isn't kind to objects without atmospheres. Bombarded by solar radiation surfaces of some comets tend to be a charred carbon-black.
Every hundred years or so, a solar storm comes along so potent it fills the skies of Earth with blood-red auroras, makes compass needles point in the wrong direction, and sends electric currents coursing through the planet's topsoil.
Hinode has shown us complex structures in the solar chromosphere, once thought to be static, these move and twist with time.
This solar wind is some million degrees Celsius, can move as fast as 750 kilometers (466 statute miles) per second, and – so far – defies a complete description by any one theory.
Read through a question-and-answer session with Magnetospheric MultiScale Project Scientist Tom Moore.
When Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) was launched on October 19, 2008, space physicists held their collective breath for never-before-seen views of a collision zone far beyond the planets. Now scientists have finished assembling a second complete sweep around the sky, and IBEX has again delivered an unexpected result: the map has changed significantly.
Solar storms don't always travel in a straight line. But once they start heading in our direction, they can accelerate rapidly, gathering steam for a harder hit on Earth's magnetic field.
Firefly will focus on the mystery of near Earth gamma ray flashes, a little understood phenomenon linked to lightning, which scientists hope to answer with this pint-sized satellite.
NASA has achieved another first by placing the ARTEMIS-P1 spacecraft into a unique orbit behind the moon, but not actually orbiting the moon itself.