The Eclipse Feeling

It was like someone turned down the Sun with a dimmer switch.  The tempurate dropped quickly, enhanced by the lack of moisture in the dry mountain air.  In a span of an hour, the Sun looked the same, but was very different, as totality approached.  I was taking photos through my telescope with an attached solar filter, so I could see the Moon slowly covering the Sun.  But as the environment changed in Northern Wyoming, I grew more excited for what was to come.  Over a year of preparation for this event, and clear skies greeted me with the confidence...

The Sun in an Earth Year

NASA has several orbiting spacecraft trained to study the Sun during it’s 11-year cycle.  Recently the team of astronomers and scientists behind the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) released a video showing a full year of activity on the Sun.  You’ll want to crank this one up to 4K if you can, though it still looks spectacular in 1080p. It’s interesting to note that the bulk of the solar activity is along the rotational plane, which is the plane of the entire solar system.  Also notice that as the days pass the Sun doesn’t rotate completely every day.  This is because...

Discovery: Why the Sun’s Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface

The surface of the Sun is around 5500 degrees Celsius.  It’s hot, and it’s a completely different state of matter than the solid, liquid, and gas states that we are used to. However, this is a pretty balmy temperature compared to the solar atmosphere, which is heated to over a million degrees.  But how does it get so hot compared to the surface? We know the core of the Sun, where fusion happens, is where temperatures can reach 14 Million degrees, but how is that energy radiated outward? And more importantly, how does it bypass the solar surface and make...

Partial Solar Eclipse Today!

Tonight, right around sunset, there will be a partial eclipse of the sun, visible from most of North America.  As the sun sets, skywatchers will get to see the moon gradually cover about half of the sun, before it disappears below the horizon. A map of the viewing area shows that the best spot to see it will be all the way up in the Canadian arctic. If you don’t live in the Arctic circle, you can certainly see the eclipse in the South-West near the horizon as it sets.  The moon will start to cover the sun around 5:45 EDT,...