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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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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Moon At Last Quarter, Aurora On Deck

Beautiful blue sky morning. I walked the dog, noted the light coating of frost on the lawn and looked up to see a crisp last quarter moon riding over the poplar tops. Only a few yellow-brown leaves wagged way up there, but the contrasts of sky, moon and autumnal color made for a refreshing way…
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Aurora Watch: A Mighty Wind Comes Our Way

Call it a gale of subatomic proportions. Once again, a gaping hole in the sun’s corona has unleashed a wind of electrons and protons bundled with magnetic energy toward the Earth. The blast touched off a minor geomagnetic storm earlier this morning with spillover expected tonight. After a lull, storming is expected to resume tomorrow morning (Sept.…
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