The new solar cycle and “star wars”
According to NASA, the Sun has just entered another of the 11-years long cycle. Highly connected to the space weather, solar cycles are the periods of the changing activity of the Sun. We experienced a solar minimum in 2019, and we should expect that our star’s activity will be rising until 2025. Even though the new cycle will most probably be below average, it still means the giant explosions on the Sun’s surface – coronal mass ejections and flares as well as higher space radioactivity. It can affect astronauts in space, radio communications on Earth, and the weather. There are even past research papers that postulate the correlation between solar cycles and social perturbations like revolutions and wars.
Free and uninterrupted access to space may soon be over. The Commander of the Royal Air Force has warned that it is becoming a new frontier in the global rivalry. The militarization of space comes as a result of the global ambitions of the countries and the lack of effective international regulations. Recently the UK and the US accused Russia of putting an anti-satellite weapon in space. Last year both countries partnered up to create common capabilities of space warfare. Then there’s the problem of over 900 000 pieces of floating trash, mostly remains of inactive hardware.
With scientists from NASA finding the first planet ever orbiting a white dwarf, it may be that the death of a star doesn’t have to mean the annihilation of surrounding celestial bodies as previously thought. WD 1856 b was found with the help of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and Spitzer Space Telescope. It’s massive and remains in a near orbit to its star. Until now scientists believed that in the process of becoming a white dwarf, the star destroys everything in its vicinity. Now they think the newly discovered planet could be pulled in from even 50 times further orbit but wasn’t damaged in the process. It’s a breakthrough but not necessarily good news for Earth-sized planets. We haven’t yet found a similar scale object to survive the death of its star