Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Outreach

What can I learn about the Sun--our closest star?

With special filtered telescopes you can observe the sun safely without hurting your eyes.There's more to the sun than just a yellow ball. See for yourself what the sun's surface and atmosphere look like--93 million miles away.

Our educators can provide a Solar Astronomy program for your community organization, state or federal agency, library, school or classroom.

What does a Program include? | Request a Program

Video: Timmy live in the Independence National Historical Park

Roger Kennedy, solar astronomy educator, explains Outreach

What's new on the Sun?

For the lastest information about the Sun and how it affects the Earth check SolarHam.com --solar news and data from various sources in one spot for easy navigation.

Current Research

Observe the Sun| tutorial. New Website from UK Solar Physics showing Past and Present Solar Activity

03/12/19: Tied in knots: New insights into plasma behavior focus on twists and turns. Whether zipping through a star or a fusion device on Earth, the electrically charged particles that make up the fourth state of matter better known as plasma are bound to magnetic field lines like beads on a string. Unfortunately for plasma physicists who study this phenomenon, the magnetic field lines often lack simple shapes that equations can easily model. Often they twist and knot like pretzels. Sometimes, when the lines become particularly twisted, they snap apart and join back together, ejecting blobs of plasma and tremendous amounts of energy. [Plasma]

03/12/19: Probability of catastrophic geomagnetic storm lower than estimated. According to a group of mathematics researchers, the probability in the following decade of the sun causing a storm strong enough to affect electrical and communication infrastructures around the globe 'only' reaches 1.9 percent maximum. Nevertheless, the event would produce severe consequences and governments should be prepared, researchers warn. [Space Weather]

03/11/19: Researchers uncover additional evidence for massive solar storms. Solar storms can be far more powerful than previously thought. A new study has found evidence for the third known case of a massive solar storm in historical times. The researchers believe that society might not be sufficiently prepared if a similar event were to happen now.[Space Weather]

03/03/19: Spectroscopy on individual molecules. While spectroscopic measurements are normally averaged over myriad molecules, a new method developed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) provides precise information about the interaction of individual molecules with their environment. This will accelerate the identification of efficient molecules for future photovoltaic technologies. [Spectroscopy]

01/25/19: Surprising Explanation for Differences in Southern and Northern Lights. For many years, scientists assumed the aurora seen around the north pole was identical to the aurora seen around the south pole. However, in 2009, scientists discovered aurora can look differently around the north pole and the south pole, including having different shapes and occurring at different locations - a phenomenon called asymmetry. Now, a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics explains how this asymmetry comes about and causes the differences in auroral displays near Earth's poles. The new research finds the differences in aurora are likely caused by squeezing of Earth's magnetotail - a magnetic tail that extends away from our planet - by the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field. [Auroras]

01/19/19: From emergence to eruption: Comprehensive model captures life of a solar flare. A team of scientists has, for the first time, used a single, cohesive computer model to simulate the entire life cycle of a solar flare: from the buildup of energy thousands of kilometers below the solar surface, to the emergence of tangled magnetic field lines, to the explosive release of energy in a brilliant flash.

12/10/18: SwRI Solar activity research provides insight into sun's past, future. Scientists have developed a new technique for looking at historic solar data to distinguish trustworthy observations from those that should be used with care. This work is critical to understanding the sun's past and future as well as whether solar activity plays a role in climate change. [Solar Observation]

11/20/18: A Sunspot from the next solar cycle. Over the weekend, a small sunspot materialized in the sun’s northern hemisphere, then, hours later, vanished again. Such an occurrence is hardly unusual during solar minimum when sunspots are naturally small and short-lived. However, this ephemeral spot was noteworthy because its magnetic field was reversed–marking it as a member of the next solar cycle.

11/07/18: Aging a Flock of Stars in the Wild Duck Cluster. The way they move belies the true ages of the almost 3,000 stars populating one of the richest star clusters known. Astronomers recently discovered the stars all were born in the same generation, solving a long-standing puzzle about how stars evolve. [Spectroscopy]

Additional news items