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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

Holey Sun Could Fire Up Auroras Tonight

In one of the Winnie the Pooh stories I read to my kids, the lovable bear carries around a bag or sock with a hole in it. One day, he and Piglet get lost in the forest, but thanks to the the hole, the crumbs lead them back to safety. The sun’s like that. It…
Read More

Changing Leaves, Slanting Sun, Falls Begins Today

At 3:02 p.m. Central time today falls begins. The moment is also called the autumnal equinox from the Latin “equal night” — on the first day of fall, day and night are equal at 12 hours apiece.  Like the Earth, the sky is divided into hemispheres, north and south. There’s even an equator up there…
Read More