Credit: NASA

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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Last quarter moon Oct. 22, 2016. Credit: Bob King

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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ESA Medialab

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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Aurora Sept. 19, 2016. Credit: Bob King

Aurora Right On Schedule Tonight

I’m always tickled and amazed when an aurora is forecast, and it happens exactly at the predicted time. So it was earlier tonight and may still be now. Although the waning gibbous moon is finally climbing above the horizon, I could still see a foggy greenish rainbow splayed across the northern sky in despite moonlight. This aurora,…
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A colorful aurora photographed in early fall. Credit: Bob King

Two Days Before Fall, The Aurora May Come Knocking

It’s been a while. No northern lights in the neighborhood for a couple weeks at least. That could change tomorrow evening (Sept. 19) when the wind blowing from a solar coronal hole wafts past Earth. If the magnetic direction of that wind points south — just like the south pole of a magnet — it…
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