Thursday, December 23, 2010

Super Large Solar Flare - Changing Climate?

A few weeks back, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory scheduled to observe the sun for the next years while in orbit around the earth took this video of a solar flare emanating from the sun.  It takes a second or two to load.

I took a snapshot of one of the frames and drew the earth to scale so that you can the see the incredible size of this flare. Roughly 435,000 miles!

Many scientists believe that we are coming out of a period of low solar activity and trending into a period of more solar flares.  Some also believe that this increase in solar activity has a direct impact on our climate.  Some believe that the solar activity has very little effect on our global climate.  Only time will tell. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse/Winter Solstice

A Total Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice.  Doesn't happen very often.


A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth's shadow passes in front of the moon obscuring the sun's light from hitting the moon directly.  Some does get through producing a reddish/rusty color from our perspective on earth.

Add in this event occurring on the winter solstice and it becomes very rare.  The last time it happened was in 1638.  Beyond this date, we really don't know for sure because the earth's rotation changes over time.  The further we go back, the actual lunar eclipse dates become less accurate.  Still, almost 400 years is a really long time.

Most articles list 2094 as the next total lunar eclipse date on a winter solstice.  But this one will only be visible in Europe and Asia.  So I checked the lunar tables on the NASA ECLIPSE SITE and came up with this date for all of us in Cleveland.

DECEMBER 21, 2466, starts at 7:19 PM

Here is the chart if you want to check the date out.  Its at the bottom in red.
Indeed a long way off so get ready early!