Dr. C. Alex Young

November 17, 2021

A Deep Partial Lunar Eclipse from the Last Eclipse Season of 2021

During the early morning hours of November 19 or late evening hours of November 18, depending on your location and time zone, the full moon will pass through Earth's dark or inner shadow (umbra) creating a deep partial lunar eclipse.
September 22, 2021

September 2021 Equinox and Another Sprinkling of Aurora

WHOOO HOO! It’s a change of season! The next Equinox occurs on September 22, 2021 at 19:21 UTC (3:21 p.m. EDT • 12:21 p.m. PDT). It’s the Autumnal (Fall) equinox for the Northern Hemisphere! It’s the Vernal (Spring) equinox for […]
February 8, 2021

Happy 1st Anniversary Solar Orbiter – The Science is Just Beginning

February 9, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of the launch of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Mission. It was launched from Kennedy Space Center at 11:03 pm ET on February 9, 2020. This mission is a single spacecraft designed with […]
March 19, 2020

Happy Vernal Equinox 2020: The Earliest in 124 Years

It’s Time Again for the Change of Seasons—the Vernal or March Equinox 2020! This marks the beginning of spring for the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall for the Southern Hemisphere. The change happens at 11:49 p.m. EDT (0349 […]
February 7, 2019

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, 2017

Happy June Solstice 2017! Oh and the Eclipse!

Happy June Solstice 2017! The beginning of summer for the northern hemisphere and winter for the southern hemisphere. Oh, and it is two months until the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse! The June Solstice comes on June 21, 2017 […]
March 19, 2015

March 20, 2015 Supermoon Solar Eclipse

On March 20, 2015 a supermoon total solar eclipse occurs in the Faroe Islands and Svalbard (Norway), and a partial solar eclipse in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa. The eclipse starts at 07:41 UT and ends […]
October 22, 2014

AR12192: The Largest Sunspot Group of Solar Cycle 24

Since rotating into view, the sunspot group AR12192 has continued to grow in size and complexity, becoming the largest sunspot of the current solar cycle, cycle 24 (SC24.) The region has produced numerous C and M-class flares including an X1 flare. As […]
June 10, 2014

Double X! AR12087 Produces Back-to-back X Flares

Just after the X2.2 AR12087 let out an X1.5 flare peaking at 12:52 UT. Here is a snapshot of the event using the SDO/AIA 131 angstrom channel. This shows plasmas with temperatures up to about 10 million Kelvin. http://youtu.be/cV5ccg3n_J0 The […]
June 7, 2014

CME from Filament Eruption Brushes Earth

The CME is here! As predicted the CME from the June 4 filament eruption impacted Earth’s magnetosphere around 16:30 UT with a glancing blow and created a minor geomagnetic disturbance. The plot above shows the solar wind measured by the ACE spacecraft, […]
February 20, 2014

Starting the Day with a Flare, Protons and a Geomagnetic Storm

Geomagnetic storms continue while an eruption on the west limb of the sun brings a flare, protons and possibly another CME our way. Solar Eruption The sun erupted with an M3 X-ray flare (NOAA Scale R1-Minor radio blackout) peaked in […]
February 19, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora from Valentine’s Weekend CME

A CME from February 16, 2014 has impacted Earth. The CME’s magnetic structure was such that it stirred things up in the magnetosphere.   A significant interplanetary shock detected by ACE at L1 at 3:10 UT, February 19, 2014.   The […]
February 5, 2014

AR11967 Still Remains Moderately Active

The level of solar activity is moderate. NOAA region 11967 continues to be the largest and most complex active region on disk. This region would engulf Jupiter and several Earths all at once. This region has maintained spot area and decreased marginally in […]
February 3, 2014

The Sun’s Magnetic Poles Have Flipped…Solar Cycle 24’s 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 […]
February 1, 2014

AR11967 Continues its Flaring and AR11968 Sends a CME Our Way

 There are two main active regions (ARs 11967/11968) on the sun and both are giving a moderate show. AR11967 continues to produce C- and M-level events, including an M3.0 flare at 07:14 UT Feb. 1, 2014. The region continues to show signs […]
January 29, 2014

A Long Lunar Transit for SDO – Jan. 30, 2014

UPDATES 16:17 UT (11:17 UT) – The transit ends with a bang! – an M6.6 flare peaked at 16:11 from AR11967. These images are from just before the flare peak at around 16:00 UT (11:00 EST) again in all 9 SDO/AIA wavelengths. […]
November 15, 2013

Coming and Going: Two Weeks of Magnetic Spots and Loops

When sunspots rotate onto the solar disk facing Earth they are identified by their structure in white or visible light. Sunspots are regions of concentrated magnetic field. They are like complicated clusters of bar magnets on their sides. Some are […]
November 2, 2013

A Rare Treat from the Sun, Earth and Moon – A Hybrid Eclipse

There will be a hybrid solar eclipse on Sunday November 3, 2013. This rare occurrence of an annular and total eclipse is the final eclipse event of 2013. Never look at the sun or an eclipse directly!  Eye safety during solar […]
October 30, 2013

A Whole Lot Happening on the Sun – In Many Types of Light

The sun has been really active lately. SDO gives us an amazing view of this activity in many different wavelengths of light. This also shows us the sun’s atmosphere in many temperatures ranging from ~4500 Kelvin or 7600 degrees Fahrenheit […]
September 30, 2013

Spectacular Erupting Filament with Earth-directed Space Weather

A huge filament erupted from the sun producing a beautiful coronal mass ejection (CME) and solar energetic particle event. Around 21 UT, 9/29/2013 a filament erupted from the northwest quadrant of the sun. It started from the surface with a […]
August 20, 2013

Aurora Ahead? – Filament Eruption with an Earth-directed CME

There may be a geomagnetic storm in store for Earth. Lookout aurora watchers! A filament ~50 Earths in length (~400,000 miles) erupted from the Sun’s southern hemisphere in the southwest direction around 7:24 UT (4:24 am EDT). The eruption produced […]
August 19, 2013

SOHO/LASCO C3 Sees a Very Bright Kreutz-group Sungrazing Comet

“One of the brightest Sungrazers we’ve seen in a long time …”, tweeted Karl Battams (@SungrazerComets) of NRL’s Sungrazing Comets Project. Battams estimates the comet to be approximately 30-50 kilometers wide and expects it to reach speeds of at least 500 […]
May 17, 2013

Wiggling Loops from 4 Flares – May 13 – 16, 2013

Wiggly Jiggly Loops by 4 flares from an evolving sunspot AR11748 showed us some exciting yet basically benign activity. A little image processing helps us really see certain aspects of the activity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=woycUmQ24WI Keep an eye out for wiggling loops […]
May 10, 2013

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – Year 3

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist C. Alex Young highlights many interesting aspects of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) images and points out several of the single-frame events that appear in it. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.
February 28, 2013

Van Allen Probes Discover a 3rd Radiation Belt around Earth

Learn about this new result in a video by NASA Goddard Heliophysics Division. NASA presented these results at a press conference today. Tomorrow I will be on a Google Hangout with several of my colleagues at NASA Goddard. http://bit.ly/YzL5Mz Ask […]
February 21, 2013

A Spot with Potential

A sunspot region with potential, AR11678! Yes pun intended. This solar active region (AR for short) has emerged suddenly from under the solar photosphere (the visible “surface”) packed with magnetic potential energy and the potential for some significant flaring. It […]
December 20, 2012

Doomsday 12/21/12: Not from the Sun!

It’s official! The sun cannot bring the end of the world. We are quickly approaching the supposed doomsday, December 21, 2012. As we and many have already said it is “Not Gonna Happen”. Many who have been promoting the doomsday […]
December 18, 2012

The Truth About 2012, Solar Storms and the Fate of The Blue Marble

What is so special about December 21, 2012? Let’s see. It is the 2012 winter equinox for the northern hemisphere. It is 10 days before the end of the calendar year 2012. It is a Friday. But what it is […]
November 12, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse in the South Pacific – November 13/14, 2012

  A total eclipse of the Sun will be visible on November 13/14, 2012 in a narrow path across the southern hemisphere. The Moon’s umbral shadow starts in northern Australia following a path across the South Pacific Ocean without crossing […]
November 9, 2012