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.

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Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan urged to return absentee ballots to drop boxes

Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valle, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo by KEREM YUCEL via Getty

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic attorney general of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging, with cold weather arriving before even the best-case scenario for a widely distributed vaccine. Now we're also beginning to see an increase in coronavirus-related startup funding, focused on both testing and pharma.

Driving the news: Gauss, a Silicon Valley computer vision startup focused on health care, tells Axios that it's raised $10 million to accelerate development and commercialization of an at-home rapid antigen test for COVID-19.