Aurora Alert Through Sunday Night Dec. 20-21 / Aurora Link Updates

Auroras are on the prowl. A glancing punch from a coronal mass ejection on December 17th coupled with a more direct hit from another blast on the 18th are already goosing Earth’s magnetic bubble this evening and will continue through Sunday evening. NOAA predicts the latter will cause moderate to major storming starting early Sunday…
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Comet Finlay Outburst Another Present Under The Christmas Tree

Surprise! An obscure comet that only amateur astronomers would pay attention to experienced a sudden outburst in brightness earlier this week putting it within range of telescopes as small as 4.5 inches. Comet 15P/ Finlay hunkered along at a dim 11th magnitude successfully avoiding the limelight until about December 16th. That’s when Czech comet observer¬†Jakub…
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Who Or What Passed Gas On Mars?

What a tantalizing week it’s been for organic chemistry on Mars. We learned that NASA’s Curiosity rover measured a¬†tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by its drill. Scatalogical references to the contrary, methane is a colorless and odorless gas.…
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Who’d A- Thunk It? Mercury May Have Meteor Showers Too

Of course, of course, it only makes sense. We’re so caught up in watching meteor showers on our own planet, who ever thinks about meteors at Mercury? Or Venus for that matter? This week NASA announced that regular spikes in the amount of calcium in Mercury’s upper atmosphere bespeak a cyclical source. The likely culprit?…
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Solar Flares And Gobs Of Spots Make For Fiery Fall Finale

The Sun cares not for Earth’s seasons. It follows its own cycle of high and low activity. So while winter will soon be underway in the northern hemisphere, things have been heating up in recent days on our home star. Nine sunspot groups speckle the Sun today with two of them – regions 2241 and…
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