This is wild. NASA’s recently deployed Van Allen probes — a pair of robotic spacecraft launched just last August to investigate Earth’s eponymous pair of radiation belts — are already turning out some very unexpected findings. Chief among them: an ephemeral third ring of radiation, previously unknown to science, surrounding our planet.

It’s official: the Sun is the most perfect natural sphere ever measured
The Earth is not round, but the Sun — contrary to long-standing scientific belief — is a different story.
To be clear: the Earth certainly isn’t flat, but it’s definitely not a perfect sphere. Technically speaking, it’s an oblate spheroid — a sphere that’s been squashed, such that the distance from Earth’s center to sea level is about 13 miles greater at the equator than at its poles. Earth isn’t really smooth, either; in actuality, it’s kind of bumpy.
Keep reading.

It’s official: the Sun is the most perfect natural sphere ever measured

The Earth is not round, but the Sun — contrary to long-standing scientific belief — is a different story.

To be clear: the Earth certainly isn’t flat, but it’s definitely not a perfect sphere. Technically speaking, it’s an oblate spheroid — a sphere that’s been squashed, such that the distance from Earth’s center to sea level is about 13 miles greater at the equator than at its poles. Earth isn’t really smooth, either; in actuality, it’s kind of bumpy.

Keep reading.