Proxima Centauri B Has A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

We get worried enough here on Earth when the sun pops off a large solar flare. There’s always a concern that it could temporarily take down a poorly protected power grid or damage orbiting satellite electronics. Last March 24th, a flare ten times the largest flare ever seen on the sun exploded at Proxima Centauri,…
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Looking Through Crystal Spectacles On A Subzero Morning

Subzero mornings may not be friendly to skin and lungs, but they’re great for making ice crystals. Add in sunlight and you never know what you’ll get. Sometimes those crystals form directly in clear air. Other times they need a nudge from a body of water. Lake Superior provided that source earlier today when the…
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Dazzling Diamond Dust! / Aldebaran Disappears Tonight

I was in the middle of making tea this morning when I looked out the window and saw the most amazing diamond dust halo display. Tea would have to wait. I got in the car instead and drove to the nearest opening to get a good look at the rare phenomenon. Ordinary, ice crystals in…
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Red Giant Star Blows Really Big Bubbles

No star looks larger than a point in all but the very largest telescopes. Even then only the largest of stars — Betelgeuse, Antares and the like — show disks. It’s doubtful anyone’s ever seen a star’s true shape through a telescope because special photographic techniques and multiple telescopes are needed to capture an actual…
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Aurora Alert Tonight Dec. 17 / Review: Cosmic-Watch App

Particles streaming from solar blowhole and the side-effects of a Dec. 15 blast will combine to up our chances of seeing the northern lights the next two nights. Spaceweather experts predict minor storming (Kp=5) starting this evening around (updated) 6 p.m. Central Time and continuing through about midnight. “Minor” usually means that observers in the…
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