Solar Facts

September 8, 2010
The Sunspot and Solar Activity Cycle

Solar Activity and the Solar Cycle

The Sun is not just a big bright ball. It has a complicated and changing magnetic field, which forms things like sunspots and active regions. The magnetic field sometimes changes explosively, spitting out clouds of plasma and energetic particles into […]
December 20, 2013

The December 2013 Solstice

The December solstice for 2013 begins on Dec. 21st at 17:11 UT. It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices […]
February 3, 2014

The Sun’s Magnetic Poles Have Flipped…Solar Max is Here!

Although this might sound alarming, there really is nothing to worry about! It’s a normal part of the solar cycle – it heralds the second half of the solar cycle. Learn about why this happens. At a Glance The sun’s […]
June 20, 2014

The June 2014 Solstice

The June solstice for 2014 begins on June 21st at 10:51 UT (6:51 am EDT.) It is called the summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices in a […]
July 5, 2014

Welcome to Aphelion 2014!

Earth reaches its furthest point from the sun, July 3, at 8pm EDT or July 4 at 1am in Universal Time (UT). This is called aphelion. The point of closest approach is called perihelion. These terms are specific to a […]
December 21, 2014

The December 2014 Solstice

The December solstice for 2014 begins on Dec. 21st at 23:03 UT (6:03 pm EST, 3:03 pm PST.) It is called the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the […]
January 5, 2015

Welcome to Perihelion 2015!

Earth reached its closest point from the sun, January 4, at 1:36am EDT or January 4 at 6:36am in Universal Time (UT). This is called perihelion. The point of closest approach is called perihelion. These terms are specific to a […]
June 21, 2015

Happy June Solstice 2015

The June solstice for 2015 begins on June 21st at 16:39 UT (12:39 pm EDT.) It is called the summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. But what is the solstice exactly? There are two solstices in […]
July 6, 2015

Happy Aphelion 2015!

Earth reached its farthest point from the sun July 6 at 3:41 p.m. EDT or July 6 at 19:41 in Universal Time (UT). This is called aphelion. The distance from the Sun’s center to Earth’s center will be 152,093,481 kilometers or 94,506,507 miles. The […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]