Category Archives: Solar Science

Video: Making music from a solar eclipse with the Kronos Quartet

On August 21st, the Kronos Quartet will create music out of the solar eclipse in an event sponsored by San Francisco’s Exploratorium and organized by composer Wayne Grim :

Eclipse Sonification with Kronos Quartet Offers a Chance
to Listen to “Music of the Spheres”

The sun expels another giant spray of coronal mass reports on another massive explosion from the sun, this time on the farside:

Earlier today, July 23rd, a spectacular CME emerged from the farside of the sun. Coronagraphs onboard the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) tracked the fast-moving cloud as it billowed into space:

And here is a GIF video of the Sun as seen by the STEREO spacecraft;

At around 5:00 on 2017/07/23 there is a large coronal mass ejection.


If this explosion had occurred 2 weeks ago when the huge sunspot was facing Earth, we would be predicting strong geomagnetic storms in the days ahead. Instead, the CME is racing away from our planet … and directly toward Mars. Compared to Earth, the Red Planet is currently on the opposite side of the sun, and apparently in the crosshairs of this CME. Mars rovers Curiosity and Opportunity might be observing the effects of a solar storm later this week.

Videos: Solar eclipses, syzygy, and citizen solar science

The Planetary Society has released three short videos about the solar eclipse over the US on August 21st:

Bill Nye explains the basics of a solar eclipses, the path of totality, and how to safely view a solar eclipse with National Park Ranger Coral O’Riley.

Bill Nye loves syzygy and Dr. Ashwin Vasavada from JPL talks about a curious eclipse on Mars

Bill Nye explains how to see the Milky Way after a solar eclipse and Dr. Tyler Nordgren shows an ancient eclipse petroglyph.

And here is NASA initiative to involve the public in experimental solar science: Become a Citizen Scientist During Total Solar Eclipse | NASA


Large sunspot erupts in a big flare and coronal mass ejection reports on a big solar flare today:

After days of suspenseful quiet, huge sunspot AR2665 finally erupted on July 14th (0209 UT), producing a powerful and long-lasting M2-class solar flare. Extreme ultraviolet telescopes onboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast:

This image combines three images with different temperatures. Each image is assigned a color, and they are not the same used in the single images. Here AIA 094 is red, AIA 335 is green, and AIA 193 is blue. Each highlights a different part of the corona.

The two hour long outburst of X-rays and high energy particles led to lots of ionization in earth’s upper atmosphere:

Shortwave radio blackouts were subsequently observed over the Pacific Ocean and especially around the Arctic Circle.   This map from NOAA shows the affected geographic regions.

See these space weather reports from NOAA for more about the effects of the solar flare on earth:

The GIF below of images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite shows a subsequent coronal mass ejection (CME). The plasma of ionized protons and electrons will reach earth by July 16 and should generate some vivid auroras: G2 (Moderate) Geomagnetic Storm Watch Issued – Valid for 16-17 Jul 2017 | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center –


More about the Total Solar Eclipse

Some additional items about the total solar eclipse over North America on August 21st (see earlier posting):

** Astro Maven Rick Boozer writes about how Weird Things Happen with a Total Solar Eclipse. For example:

Long before totality (when the Moon is only covering part of the Sun’s face), go to a nearby tree and look in the shade of the tree’s shadow.  You will see hundreds of crescent images of the partially covered Sun all over the ground!    In fact, this is a safe way to view all the partial phases of the eclipse without harming your eyes.  Where do all these many images come from?  The gaps between the tree’s leaves act like a pinhole camera by projecting the Sun’s image on the ground. 

** 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Science Briefing – video of NASA briefing on eclipse science:

During a June 21 media briefing from the Newseum in Washington, representatives from NASA, other federal agencies, and science organizations discussed the opportunity for scientific study offered by the total solar eclipse that will cross the U.S. on August 21.

** 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Safety Briefing – video of a NASA briefing on watching the eclipse safely

During a June 21 media briefing from the Newseum in Washington, representatives from NASA, other federal agencies, and science organizations provided important information about safely viewing the total solar eclipse that will cross the U.S. on August 21.