Sunspot #2546 rounds the sun's eastern limb bigger than Earth in this photo taken earlier today by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA

Cyclopean Sunspot Rolls Into View

In ancient Greek mythology, a Cyclops was a member of an ancient race of giants, each with only a single in the middle of his forehead. A new large sunspot feels like the return of this ancient strain as it rounds the limb and comes into clear view this week. I spotted it – excuse the pun – today…
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Aurora May3_4 2014FEA

Heads-up For Aurora Tonight April 29-30

When it gets dark tonight, keep watch on the northern sky. There’s a chance for a minor G1 auroral storm. You might see anything from a quiet arc to active rayed arcs in the lower half of the northern sky beginning at nightfall and continuing into the early morning hours. Since the aurora is generally…
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Sun SDO closeup

Sun Sports A Big Black Spot, Leaky Hole

A very distinguished sunspot blackens the sun today. It’s more than twice the size of Earth and plainly visible to the naked eye as a small, dark dot through a safe solar filter such as a #14 welder’s glass. The spot is the “leader” in a small group of sunspots called Region 2529. Sunspots are…
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Use this map to help you track comet 252P/LINEAR through June. The position is shown for 5 a.m. local Daylight Saving Time with the comet's position marked every 3 days. Stars are labeled with their Greek letters and numbers and plotted to magnitude +7.5. Saturn and Mars' positions are for early April.  All the Greek lettered stars are bright enough to see with the naked eye. Created with Chris Marriott's SkyMap

No Foolin’, We Might Get Aurora Tonight / Comet 252P Still Bright

I’d love to write about a big aurora coming April Fools night just to kid around. Unfortunately, I can’t do that because there really is a chance for northern lights tonight. A recent coronal hole opened up and allowed a stream of particles loose in Earth’s direction that’s expected to impact tonight. Space weather experts…
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Aurora Nov8_2015 AFEA

More Aurora? Enough Already!

I’ve been tempted to blog about the northern lights the past two nights. This morning I caved. The past two nights we’ve had weak displays here in Duluth, Minn. Too little to move the needle mostly because they’ve been low and faint. But I find that the more northern lights I see, the more I…
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