Solar Hole Could Kick Up Auroras Tonight

The aurora’s been practically out of sight the past couple months unless you live in central Canada and points north. For U.S. observers, only a couple of weak displays — usually a mustache of pale green light just above the northern horizon — have been sighted. The scene might get livelier soon with a minor…
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Ride The Roller Coaster To Solar Minimum

Most of us live on a 24-hour cycle beginning with waking up, going about our jobs or other activities and then sleeping before waking up again. We call it the circadian rhythm from the Latin circa dia or “about a day.” The sun has a rhythm too, called the 11-year solar cycle. During that time, we…
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Mars, Neptune Embrace On New Year’s Eve / Aurora With Your Bubbly?

Mars won’t have to look hard to find a dance partner for the New Year’s Eve ball. It can only be Neptune. Beautiful, unavoidable Neptune. The Red Planet sashays up to the Blue Planet on Saturday evening Dec. 31, and you can see the sparkling couple using a pair of 50mm (or larger) binoculars or a…
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Aurora — The Big Picture From 518 Miles Up

What an amazing image! Those cresting wave forms? That’s the aurora seen from 518 miles up by the Suomi-NPP satellite. An intense display lit up the sky across northern Canada on Dec. 22 just hours after the winter solstice, when a mass of energetic particles from the sun smashed into Earth’s magnetic field and funneled down to…
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Hole In Sun’s Corona Could Spark Auroras

The sun’s atmosphere is like Swiss cheese at times. It develops these big holes that while not visible with regular filters on amateur telescopes stand out boldly in ultraviolet light. NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory keeps a constant watch on the sun in many wavelengths or colors of light, where the holes stand out like giant…
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