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Sun

Look up! Sunday solar eclipse will be visible from East Coast

If you live on the East Coast, you might catch a glimpse of a solar eclipse around sunrise on Sunday, November 3. It is the second -- and final -- eclipse of 2013.

This eclipse is especially rare, as it is a hybrid: for just 15 seconds, it will be an annular eclipse, as a "ring of fire" forms about 620 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla.

After that, it will transition to a total eclipse, with the moon's shadow sweeping close enough to Earth to cover the sun. … Read more

Giant mirrors shine winter sun on dark Norwegian town

Residents of a remote Norwegian village are getting their first glimpse of winter sunlight, thanks to giant remote-controlled mirrors that reflect the sun's rays.

Nestled deep in a valley between steep mountains, Rjukan is characterized by dark, sunless days between September and March. But now, three 183-square-foot mirrors placed in the mountains surrounding the small town reflect natural sunlight down onto the town square.

At an inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, residents of Rjukan in sunglasses cheered, waved Norwegian flags, and even lounged in sun chairs in the 45-degree weather. Smiling kids sported suns painted on their cheeks.

Prior to the mirrors' arrival, those same residents had to catch a gondola to grab a few rays in the dark winter months.… Read more

Artificial traveling sun warms hearts in winter

Let there be light. And if it can't be light from the sun, let it be light from a giant LED orb.

Visual artists Lisa Pacini and Christine Istad -- who, living in Norway, know from dark, sunless days -- decided to bring the sun to places that don't see much of it during winter. They created a light sculpture full of LEDs, suspended it from a hanger above a flatbed trailer pulled by a truck, and drove it through Norway, filming onlookers' reactions (spoiler alert: it made people very happy).

Since last year, the pair has covered hundreds of miles with Traveling Sun, which measures almost 10 feet in diameter, and shifts between a range of warm orange, red, and lilac hues. … Read more

Get ready for the sun to flip its magnetic field

We're hitting the peak of the solar cycle and the sun will be pulling off quite the gymnastics move to mark the occasion. According to NASA, a flip of the sun's magnetic field is only a few months away. It's dramatic, but it's also normal behavior.

"The sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. This is a regular part of the solar cycle," says Stanford solar physicist Phil Scherrer.… Read more

Sun's giant coronal mass ejection captured on film

As expected, the sun expelled a mega coronal mass ejection, giving observers one heck of a light show.

On Sunday night at 11:24 p.m. PT, the CME shot out of the sun's northwest limb (around active region 1794) at about 715 miles per second, or about 2,574,000 miles per hour. NASA considers that rate "a fairly fast speed" for this event.… Read more

Massive solar eruption to shoot past Earth

Although the solar maximum isn't expected until late 2013, we're starting to see some pretty spectacular effects. On Tuesday, the sun erupted in a massive coronal mass ejection, or CME, that sent billions of tons of particles into the solar system in the direction of Earth.

It's expected that this wave of particles will pass Earth within about three days, causing a phenomenon known as a geomagnetic storm. This is normal, and will cause no absolutely direct harm to humans.

The sun enters solar maximum, the period of its cycle in which it is most active, every 11 years. This means we'll see a rather marked increase in the number of coronal mass ejections and flares, with some pretty interesting effects here on Earth. … Read more

Supermoon will be big, bright, and full on June 23

Supermoons can tend to get doomsdayers revved up.

Besides being a remarkable sight to behold, the massive moon also comes with the mythical stigma of causing a handful of natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis, floods, typhoons, and cyclones.

And, this year's supermoon is quickly upon us. It will be shining its light next weekend on June 23. On that day, the moon will appear bigger and brighter, and be closer to Earth than it's been all year -- a total of 221,824 miles away, which is roughly 30,000 miles closer than when it's at … Read more

NASA to blastoff solar satellite to gather images of the sun

Despite Earthlings depending on the sun for survival, there's a lot that scientists still don't know about our solar system's star. NASA is looking to change this.

The U.S. space agency is launching a solar satellite called the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) on June 26 to get a closer look at the sun's lower atmosphere. This part of the atmosphere is important because it is where most of the sun's ultraviolet emissions are generated, which are known to impact Earth's climate and the near-Earth space environment, according to NASA.

"IRIS data … Read more

Intel and McAfee join forces, the Counting Crows talk apps, and Firefox revs to v21

Every week, we compile the best new reviews, products, and features from the Download.com software catalog and blog, package them up in a tidy little newsletter, and e-mail it out to all of our lovely subscribers.

If you are a registered CNET member, you can sign up for the newsletter yourself (it's listed as "CNET Download.com Software Dispatch" under "Software News and Reviews"), or check back every Tuesday to read our latest roundup.

Top Download News and Features

Mozilla Firefox updates to version 21 with a new Health Report and additional Do Not … Read more