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Earth’s magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm. The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Still, there is no evidence that a weakened magnetic field would result in a doomsday for Earth.

Earth’s magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm. The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Still, there is no evidence that a weakened magnetic field would result in a doomsday for Earth.

Scientists are as giddy as an enchanted snowman, as summer solstice approaches on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. With more sunlight shining on the moon’s northern hemisphere, Titan is revealing new secrets, such as a mysterious bright object that researchers have dubbed the “magic island.” The bright spot, in the hydrocarbon lake Ligeia Mare, is one of several such spots discovered on Titan in 2013 with instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft. Researchers think the spots could be floating methane “icebergs” or other signs of warming, such as waves or bubbles, said study lead author Jason Hofgartner, a graduate student at Cornell University in New York.

Scientists are as giddy as an enchanted snowman, as summer solstice approaches on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. With more sunlight shining on the moon’s northern hemisphere, Titan is revealing new secrets, such as a mysterious bright object that researchers have dubbed the “magic island.” The bright spot, in the hydrocarbon lake Ligeia Mare, is one of several such spots discovered on Titan in 2013 with instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft. Researchers think the spots could be floating methane “icebergs” or other signs of warming, such as waves or bubbles, said study lead author Jason Hofgartner, a graduate student at Cornell University in New York.