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September 22, 2016

Happy September Equinox 2016

The September equinox for 2016 begins on September 22th at 14:21 UT (10:21 am EDT.) The September Equinox is the Fall or Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the […]
September 7, 2016

How Does Sunlight Push Asteroids?

Near-Earth asteroids like Bennu pose a potential danger to our planet, so it's important to predict their orbits with great accuracy. Unfortunately, a phenomenon called the Yarkovsky effect can make these predictions difficult over long time periods. How does this effect work?
June 20, 2016

A Rare Full Moon June Solstice for 2016!

For 2016, we get the special treat of a full moon on the June Solstice. This last happened in 1967 and will not happen again until 2062. The June solstice for 2016 begins on June 20th at 22:34 UT (6:34 pm EDT.) […]
May 8, 2016

Transit of Mercury – May 9, 2016

The planet Mercury will move in front of the sun, May 9, 2016, starting around 7:15 a.m. EDT and ending around 2:45 p.m. EDT. It can be seen from the ground with special solar viewing equipment however, the best way to […]
March 20, 2016

Happy Spring Equinox 2016

The March equinox for 2016 begins on March 20th at 04:30 UT (12:30 am EDT.) The Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the Fall or Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. But what is the equinox […]
March 7, 2016
Southeast Asia Total Solar Eclipse 2016

Southeast Asia Total Solar Eclipse 2016

The moon will pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow over much of Southeast Asia on March 8, 2016 EST (March 9 local time). Get details & watch live!
February 5, 2016
Sun and Earth Comparison

Our Star – An Introduction to the Sun

Our solar system is composed of the Sun and all things which orbit around it: the Earth, the other eight planets, asteroids, and comets. The Sun is 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) away from the Earth (this distance varies […]
January 5, 2016

The Carrington Flare

The first observations of a solar flare On September 1st, 1859, (151 years ago today) a 33 year old astronomer called Richard Carrington, working at an observatory in Surrey, England, went about his daily duties of sketching the peculiar dark […]
November 6, 2015

How Big is the Sun?

The Sun is really really big! It is difficult to get a true feel for how big it is because nothing in our daily life comes even close. But we can use objects that we are familiar with to provide […]
October 28, 2015
Massive Solar Flare

X17 Solar Flare and Solar Storm of October 28, 2003

On this day in 2003 (October 28), the Sun unleashed one of the largest and most geoeffective solar storms of the modern age (and consequently, one of the most studied). The eruption was part of what became known as the […]
October 5, 2015

Do solar flares cause earthquakes?

We have been getting a number of questions and comments lately regarding the possible relationship between solar activity and geological activity, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, so I have decided to look into the matter in more detail. First let […]
August 2, 2015
Layers of the Sun

Layers of the Sun

The Sun, as shown by the illustration to the left, can be divided into six layers. From the center out, the layers of the Sun are as follows: the solar interior composed of the core (which occupies the innermost quarter […]