15 – Perihelion

Happy Perihelion Day!

When an object in orbit of the sun reaches its closest point to the sun, that is its Perihelion. Even Earth has a perihelion since our orbit is elliptical rather than circular, and the sun is not right in the center of it.

A comet’s perihelion can be much more interesting because of how close they get to the sun at that point.

Today comet ISON reaches perihelion as it rounds the sun. ISON is special in that it’s a “sungrazing” comet and it’s getting so close to the sun that we’re not sure if it will survive the swing around it. It may completely fall apart today.

But if it doesn’t, it’ll come out the other side and head back into space, and will potentially be shining brightly and beautifully in our pre-dawn skies. At least for a few days.

Here’s more about ISONs Perihelion today. [click!]

And here’s more about perihelions in general. [click!]

8 – Venus Transit

First, if you’re as excited about the transit of Venus as I am happening this week, then you may want to show it with your iPhone or iPad with the Venus Transit wallpapers I made! You can find them in the blog below. Or click HERE.

Chances are, if you live in an area where the Venus Transit will be visible, then you’ve heard a LOT about it. Why is it such a big deal? Well, it’s not going to be the most spectacular thing you may ever seen, but it is one of the rarest. The next transit of Venus will not happen for another 105 years. So, chances are, this will be the only chance you get!

To read all about it check out THIS site. It has all the info you need on where and when it will be visible, and how you will be able to view it.

For me, I’m just hoping that the typical cloudy June weather here in Sweden will cease for just that morning! I have solar glasses ready and waiting!

6 – Angry Sun

I’ve mentioned once before that our sun is entering its Solar Maximum, meaning its highest activity in its 11 year cycle. In astronomical news right now we’re hearing a LOT about a sunspot that is much larger than Earth that is generating some pretty massive solar flares and has the possibility of generating powerful solar storms. So far, none are headed in our direction. But go HERE to read and watch a short video about the activity on the surface of our sun right now.

And if you’ve ever seen a video of the Sun unleashing a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection), you’ll see that the sun always has ways of reminding us of its power.

Oh, if you’ve never seen one, watch this:

3 – Earth Glow

While auroras can happen at any time of year there are “high points.” FIrst of all, the sun goes through an 11 year cycle, and every 11 years we enter a “solar maximum.” During this time the sun is very active. There will be more sunspots,¬†and more solar flares which can cause more frequent and stronger solar storms to hit Earth. In addition, for reasons not entirely known yet, the times around our equinoxes (spring and fall) are the best times for auroral activity on Earth. Earth is not the only planet in our solar system to shine with auroras, but ours are definitely the most viewed and studied.

We are entering our Solar Maximum now, and it will peak within the next year.