Category Archives: Observing

Solar Eclipse LIVE

The solar eclipse live feed from Cloud Tube. Most of North America will NOT see the eclipse. Have a look here to check if it is visible where you are. I am in North America so I will not be able to see it for myself, so I hope the live link works!

The eclipse starts at 07:41 UTC and ends at 11:50 UTC. It’s “almost” a spring eclipse too but not quite.

Speaking of spring:

Happy Spring!

The March Equinox occurs at 22:45 UTC / 18:45 EDT today.

I still have 22 cm of snow on the ground so spring can’t get here too soon :)

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Total Eclipse This Week

There will be a Total Eclipse on 20 March. Will you be able to see it? If you are in most of Europe or northern Russia, you will get to be in the penumbra (a partial eclipse). The only populated places where the totality can be seen, reachable by public travel, are the Faroe Islands and Svalbard.

Either way be sure to check it out as this will be the last total eclipse visible in Europe until 12 August 2016.

The little graphic below from NASA will give you an idea what time the eclipse will occur and where.


I will not get to see it. I’m sure there will be sites that will be streaming the eclipse and I’ll like a few of them later this week.



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Storm Watch

The sun emitted a solar flare on 11 March 2015 and was captured in this excellent video by NASA and the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The flare was a powerful X2.2 class flare.

The “X” classification denotes the most intense flares. The number gives us a to gauge its relative strength compared to an X1 flare. A flare of X2 is twice the strong as an X1 and a 3 would be three times as strong. So the X2.2 classification pegs this flare as 2.2 times as strong as an X1.

The flare and not one but three coronal mass ejections (CME’s) prompted the US, Space Prediction Center (NOAA) to issue a Minor Geomagnetic Storm watch (Level G1).

The peak of the storm is expected to occur around 0100 to 0700 UTC on 13 March. Thats 2100 EDT 12 March to 0300 EDT 13 March in the US. If you want to see an aurora keep an eye on the sky around these times and please know these times are good estimates but there could be some deviation.

I should be near a computer today and will post updates as needed/available as edits to this post.

The NOAA Space Prediction Center will have current information and conditions.


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See Comet Lovejoy Tonight

A beautiful image of Comet Lovejoy from Andrew Dumont.
A beautiful image of Comet Lovejoy from Andrew Dumont.

Want to see a comet?

You can see this comet for yourself. The comet C/2014 Q2 or Comet Lovejoy is easily visible with binoculars. If you can see the constellation Orion and Taurus you should be all set.

I just used the finders chart from NASA (see it here). Stepped out on back porch and after watching a satellite pass over, found the Comet in just a couple of minutes. I did use binoculars (could not see the comet otherwise). The binoculars were nothing special so if you have a pair handy give it a try. If you have a even a small telescope this looks really cool.

Cloudy skies?  The comet will be around for a bit so don’t worry if you have to wait a short time.

Could it be visible with the naked eye?  I would think so.  I am going to try in the morning, the best skies I get.  I could not see it a while ago, too cold to be outside for too long and not be well prepared, so I can’t say for sure.

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What’s Up for January

Here’s a look at what’s doing in the skies this month from JPL.

We had an aurora alert the other night. I was out and about on three different occasions and did not see anything. I do have a bit of light pollution these days. Still the way the forecast was going I still should have seen it.

I did’t look long though I must admit especially early on. Temps to -25 C / -13 F and wind chill to -40 C / -40 F meant I was not having fun. I was having to work on an electrical problem outside too. I diagnosed the problem and bypassed the circuit and did the repair the next day.

Video source

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Aurora Alert


Via SpaceRef:

NOAA has issued a space weather warning of the potential for a geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater. Severe to extreme space weather conditions may result. Resulting aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.
Space Weather Message Code: WARK07
Serial Number: 45
Issue Time: 2015 Jan 07 1122 UTC

WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater expected
Valid From: 2015 Jan 07 1122 UTC
Valid To: 2015 Jan 07 1500 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset
NOAA Scale: G3 or greater – Strong to Extreme

NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at

Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.

Navigation – Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.

Radio – HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.  (will try 10 and 6 meters!!)

Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.

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Partial Solar Eclipse

Tomorrow afternoon there will be a partial solar eclipse that most of North America is going to get to see.  Heavy rain expected here and the eclipse being very near or at sunset, well, I’m going to miss out on the “live” version but NASA TV will be showing coverage stating at 17:00 EDT / 22:00 UT, you should be able to find it at the link in the banner.

Hopefully YOU are going to be more fortunate!  Here is a static image of the “timing map” from the video:

Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC -
Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC –

Video source

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