Jul 17, 2017

The sun's surface isn't as tranquil as scientists thought

NASA / SDO

Every 11 years, the sun's magnetic poles flip, in the process forming sunspots and violent eruptions from the surface that can have an impact on Earth. Two new studies provide insights into the cycle, the NY Times notes.

  • One study, published in Science, found that the cycle is similar to those of other solar-type stars. The authors looked at 25 similar stars and found that "a star's activity cycle depended on two factors: luminosity and rotation."
  • Another study, published in Science Advances, found that sun's seemingly quiet outer layer, known as the corona, is active. "At solar minimum, the quiet corona measures around 1.4 million degrees Celsius. But at solar maximum it jumps to around 1.8 million degrees."
  • Why it matters: The sun's magnetic activity can affect us on earth, from interfering with satellites to hampering the power grid, and the more scientists know the better they'll be able to predict solar activity.

Go deeper

Palantir CEO reflects on work with ICE

Palantir CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO" that there have "absolutely" been moments he wished the company hadn't taken a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • "Did I suffer? ... I've had some of my favorite employees leave," Karp told "Axios on HBO."

Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the strictness of her state's coronavirus lockdown in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it was necessary — despite the protests that have drawn national attention — because of how quickly the state's cases were rising.

The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has only one novel coronavirus patient in hospital and just 22 active cases in the country, top health official Ashley Bloomfield confirmed at a briefing. He's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission," with no new cases reported for most of May, he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.