A solar eclipse helped end a six-year war in 585 BCE. When the sky suddenly darkened during a battle between the Lydians and the Medes in modern Turkey, soldiers took it as a sign to cease fighting.

The beautiful symmetry of a total solar eclipse happens because —by pure chance— the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, but is also 400 times farther from Earth, making the two bodies appear the exact same size in the sky.

A new model of the chemistry of the early solar system says that up to half the water now on Earth was inherited from an abundant supply of interstellar ice as our sun formed.

On July 23, 2012, the Earth had a near miss with a solar flare. Had it occurred a week earlier, it would’ve wiped out communication networks, GPS and electrical grids.