Below Zero And Closest To The Sun — How So?

Wednesday morning, the people in my town will wake up to strong winds and 4 below zero (–20°C). Funny that that very day the Earth will be closest to the sun for 2017. Do you think we’ll feel any warmer? Absolutely not. The momentary proximity occurs at 8:17 a.m. Central time, when the distance from…
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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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Eclipses Of 2017: A Sneak Preview

With the 2017 in sight, let’s look at some of the most anticipated events of the year — I’m talking eclipses! Four of them are on tap in the coming year, two widely visible across North America and two to delight skywatchers in the southern hemisphere. * February 10 — Penumbral lunar eclipse — Visible…
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Solstice Aurora And A Dawn Double Conjunction

Just a few hours ago, the sun reached its lowest point in the sky for the northern hemisphere at exactly 4:44 a.m. Central time (10:44 UT). The moment is known as the winter solstice and the official start of winter. It’s also the shortest day and longest night of the year. If night’s your thing, you’ll have…
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