17-Jan-2006 :: On Jan. 15th, the sun was blank. Now there are two new sunspot groups: 846 and 847. The pair materialized in less than 48 hours, as shown in the movie below.
19-Jan-2006 :: Here we go again. For the third time this week, a new sunspot is materializing. Sunspot 848 poked through the sun's surface yesterday and has quickly blossomed into a double spot about 30,000 miles wide ... The two components of sunspot 848 are each about the size of Earth. Impressive: planet-sized objects growing in less than 24 hours. What will this active region do today? BLUE MOON ALERT: If you live in Alaska, be alert for blue moons this week. The Augustine Volcano located 185 miles from Anchorage is shooting plumes of ash 8+ miles into the air. Volcanic eruptions like this have been known to turn the moon blue ... Contrary to popular belief, blue moons are real.
20-Jan-2006 :: Fast-growing sunspot 848 has doubled in size since yesterday (movie), but it does not yet pose a threat for strong flares. Solar activity remains low. ROCKET TO PLUTO: Thirty-five years ago, Apollo astronauts took 3 days to reach the moon. Yesterday, New Horizons did it in 9 hours, becoming the fastest spacecraft ever launched from Earth. New Horizons needs all the speed it can get: destination Pluto is nearly 3 billion miles away.
21-Jan-2006 :: Jupiter and the Moon are converging for a beautiful close encounter on Monday morning, Jan. 23rd: sky map. The bad news—it happens at the crack of dawn. SOLAR ACTIVITY: Double sunspot 848 continues to grow. Its two components, each larger than Earth, are now connected by a bridge of intensifying magnetic fields. If these force fields become tangled, mixing north and south polarities together, solar flares could result. Amateur astronomers with safely filtered telescopes should keep an eye on sunspot 848 this weekend. It is changing by the hour.
22-Jan-2006 :: For the fourth day in a row, sunspot 848 has grown impressively. The once-negligible spot now measures 120,000 km from end to end—about as wide as the planet Saturn.