What is a sun pillar, or light pillar? They’re beautiful!

A sun pillar, or light pillar, is a shaft of light from the sun or other bright light source, caused by ice crystals under the right atmospheric conditions.

What are X flares? Can they harm us?

X flares on the sun are the most powerful explosions in the solar system. We're likely to see more of them as we approach solar maximum, due around 2025.

Sun activity archive for February 2023

Sun activity archive for February 2023. A daily record of our local star, as it edges toward the peak of Solar Cycle 25, expected in mid-decade.

Annular solar eclipse of October 14, 2023

Heads up! The October 14, 2023, annular solar eclipse will cross the US, Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Brazil. Maps and more here.

Comet Machholz rounds the sun, drops fragments

Comet Machholz made its closest approach to the sun on January 31, 2023. It left behind tiny fragments. Read more about this unusual comet.

Sun activity archive for January 2023

Sun activity archive for January 2023. A daily record of flaring, big filaments and prominences, and other sorts of activity, on our local star.

Flashes on the sun might help predict solar flares

Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, scientists have found that flashes on the sun could help them predict the next solar flare.

What makes a giant sunspot?

A giant sunspot - AR 3190 - is crossing the face of the sun this week. It'lll soon disappear, but is still visible as of January 21, 2023. What makes it?

Sun glossary: A list of solar terms and their definitions

The active sun is frequently in the news as Solar Cycle 25 ramps up. Here's a handy sun glossary so you can get up to speed on all the solar terms you'll see.

Aurora season: Why more auroras at equinoxes?

An aurora season occurs in October and March each year, due to the way the magnetic fields of the sun and the Earth work in conjunction with sun-Earth geometry.