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A. Understanding the Largest Explosions in our Solar System

Narrator: This is Science Today. Considering its importance to life on Earth, the sun remains surprisingly mysterious to scientists. But that may soon change, thanks to the research of Manfred Bester of the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bester's team recently launched a spacecraft that will give the clearest pictures yet of solar flares-the largest explosions in our solar system.

Bester: Hopefully what we'll be able to do is explain how solar flares are generated-what are the energy processes that set off these flares and how in detail they work. And that will probably allow us in the future to predict better the occurrence of flares.

Narrator: Bester says this will help protect the astronauts who live in the Earth's orbit and will add to the growing understanding of how the sun works.

Bester: Our spacecraft is basically putting a microscope on the sun where maybe before you had a magnifying glass. So each time you increase your ways of looking at finer details, there's a very high probability that you'll find things that were not known before.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.