Dark Edge of Sunspots Reveal Magnetic Melee

In what may be one of the most important steps in understanding sunspots since they were discovered by Chinese sky watchers more than two millennia ago, researchers have discovered that the lines of magnetic force that surge out of sunspots appear to peel apart like husk off an ear of corn as some of the lines are dragged back beneath the surface by a sort of solar quicksand. This “quicksand” and the magnetic fields it bends create the penumbrae around some sunspots, the strange rings of mid-darkness that have eluded explanation by astronomers since Galileo first sketched them. With the help of sophisticated computer models and data from solar telescopes that give spectacular views of the sun, researchers at the University of Rochester, University of Colorado, University of Cambridge, and University of Leeds have reported an answer to several mysteries of sunspots in the current issue of Nature.

Scientists develop new blood test for heart disease

Scientists have developed a rapid new blood test which may help predict the likelihood of a heart attack. The research published in Nature Medicine shows how a new science called Metabonomics can be used to test for coronary artery disease, using minimally invasive procedures. The test, which only needs a few drops of blood, measures the magnetic properties of molecules in blood using high frequency radio waves, which are then analysed using an advanced computer programme capable of detecting abnormal patterns of signals associated with heart disease.