Abhinav Singhai in Delhi, India combined the old and eternal – with the new and transient – when he captured this photo of Humayun’s Tomb and the sunspot group AR1944. See the sunspot? It’s a large, dark blotch on the setting sun. He wrote that the sunspot was:
… one of the largest sunspots in a decade. It’s so large that one can see it at the time of sunrise and sunset.
You should not try to see it, of course, without special filters to protect your eyes from permanent damage.
Enjoy the photo!
And, if you live at a northerly latitude, look outside when night falls. This sunspot group produced the most powerful category of solar flare – an X-flare – on Tuesday, January 7. The solar particles sent across space from that flare arrived in Earth’s vicinity on January 9. They might still be causing Earth’s magnetic field to be unsettled, creating beautiful displays of auroras, or northern lights for those at high latitudes.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.