Mars Moon Saturn Antares May 21_2016_S_FEA

Mars Diamond, What A Sight! / That Giant Sunspot

Last night late, the Full Moon, Mars, Saturn and Antares aligned in a diamond over my front yard. I’ll bet you saw it, too. The figure measured 12° wide and 9° deep and made walking the dog more illuminating than usual. The diamond was a one-night-only affair as the moon is never still. Tonight, you’ll…
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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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Sun SDO April 18

Big Sunspot Bows Out With A Bang

Giant sunspot 2529 has provided a lot of entertainment this past week for solar observers. Several times the diameter of the Earth, the sunspot was easily visible through a #14 welder’s glass and a stunning sight through even the smallest telescopes. Most beginners think of telescopes as night sky instruments only, but they’re just as…
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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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A photo taken in far ultraviolet light reveals how hot solar gases trace the outlines of the complex magnetic field that swirls about the sunspot region 2396. Credit: NASA/SDO

Massive Sunspot Seeths / Weekend Aurora Alert

Oh my gosh.  There’s a big sunspot group staring at us today. This Cyclopean eye extends some 93,000 miles (150,000 km), the equivalent of 11.6 Earths! If you have a safe solar filter, such as a #14 welder’s glass, you can easily see it as a dark blemish on the sun’s otherwise perfect disk. Moreover, this center of solar…
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