Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Education

Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Education is the New Mexico informal solar astronomy education chapter of the Atlanta based, international non-profit Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project. Since 2009 we have provided over 1200 free programs to approximately 200,000 children and adults representing the entire spectrum of American society.

During our lessons, largely Hispanic, Native American and African American populations of young people have been able to directly observe and learn about the Sun, the closest star to the Earth. We also focus on the science/career of spectroscopy or how scientists use light. Less than 1% of the world’s population ever gets this opportunity.

These programs have attempted to help fill gaps in classroom, museum or library based programming due to a lack of resources (such as trained experts, and expensive, state-of-the–art equipment). In the future, we would like to provide 1 to 3 hour presentations to organizations needing to supplement their educational programs.
Email to request a presentation

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

03/12/2021: The Great Québec Blackout Reexamined. On March 13, 1989, a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field. Ninety seconds later, the Hydro-Québec power grid failed.To piece together what happened, D. Boteler has sifted through old records of radio emissions, magnetograms, and other 80s-era data sources. His paper summarizes his findings — including a surprise. [Solar Flares, Erupting Filaments, and CMEs]

03/03/2021: Scientists Trace Fastest Solar Particles to Their Roots on the Sun. Zipping through space at close to the speed of light, Solar Energetic Particles, or SEPs, are one of the main challenges for the future of human spaceflight. Clouds of these tiny solar projectiles can make it to Earth – a 93 million mile journey – in under an hour. They can fry sensitive spacecraft electronics and pose serious risks to human astronauts. But their onset is extraordinarily hard to predict, in part because we still don’t know exactly where on the Sun they come from. A new study tracing three SEP bursts back to the Sun has provided the first answer. [Solar Flares, Erupting Filaments, and CMEs]

03/02/2021:Astrophysicist's 2004 theory confirmed: Why the Sun's composition varies. An astrophysicist theorized why the chemical composition of the Sun's tenuous outermost layer differs from that lower down. His theory has recently been validated by combined observations of the Sun's magnetic waves from the Earth and from space. [Magnetic Fields]

02/19/2021: NASA Missions Make Unprecedented Map of Sun’s Magnetic Field. Now, for the first time, a triad of NASA missions have peered into the chromosphere to return multi-height measurements of its magnetic field. The observations – captured by two satellites and the Chromospheric Layer Spectropolarimeter 2, or CLASP2 mission, aboard a small suborbital rocket – help reveal how magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface give rise to the brilliant eruptions in its outer atmosphere. [Magnetic Fields]

01/22/2021: Magnetic waves explain mystery of Sun's outer layer. A theory as to why the Sun’s outer atmosphere differs in its chemical make-up from its inner layers has been confirmed by direct observation for the first time by scientists at UCL and the Italian Space Agency.[Alfven]

01/19/2021: Solar activity reconstructed over a millennium. An international team of researchers led by ETH Zurich has reconstructed solar activity back to the year 969 using measurements of radioactive carbon in tree rings. Those results help scientists to better understand the dynamics of the sun and allow more precise dating of organic materials using the C14 method. [Sunspots]

12/16/2020: Hubblecast 133: Spectroscopy with Hubble. How does spectroscopy work and what can the study of light tell us about the Universe? How are astronomers using spectroscopy to study exoplanets in the search for life? [Spectroscopy]

12/07/2020: Scientists get the lowdown on sun’s super-hot atmosphere. Images of the sun captured by the IRIS mission show new details of how low-lying loops of plasma are energized, and may also reveal how the hot corona is created. [Magnetic Fields]

12/07/2020: New sunspot cycle could be one of the strongest on record. Using an extended, 22-year solar cycle, a team of scientists is predicting that the Sunspot Cycle that started this fall could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began. [Solar Cycles]

11/25/2020: Neutrinos Yield First Experimental Evidence of Catalyzed Fusion Dominant in Many Stars. Scientists report the detection of neutrinos from the sun, directly revealing for the first time that the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) fusion-cycle is at work in our sun.

11/09/2020: Seasons of the Sun. As Earth makes its annual trip around the Sun, we feel the impacts of its journey in the form of seasons. Our planet’s tilt in relation to the Sun determines what season we experience here on Earth. But, did you know that the Sun goes through seasons too? Delores Knipp, Dean Pesnell and Sabrina Savage explain.

10/16/2020: Ultraviolet shines light on origins of the solar system. In the search to discover the origins of our solar system, an international team of researchers, including planetary scientist and cosmochemist James Lyons of Arizona State University, has compared the composition of the sun to the composition of the most ancient materials that formed in our solar system: refractory inclusions in unmetamorphosed meteorites. [Spectroscopy; Solar System Update]

10/12/2020: Studying the Sun as a Star to Understand Stellar Flares and Exoplanets. New research shows that sunspots and other active regions can change the overall solar emissions. The sunspots cause some emissions to dim and others to brighten; the timing of the changes also varies between different types of emissions. This knowledge will help astronomers characterize the conditions of stars, which has important implications for finding exoplanets around those stars. [Solar Flares]

10/08/2020: New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Researchers have measured, with unprecedented accuracy, the gravitational redshift of the Sun, a change in frequency of the lines in the solar spectrum which is produced when the light escapes from the gravitational field of the Sun on its way to Earth. See also: Redshift: a video explanation from the ALMA Observatory [Spectroscopy]

10/08/2020: A New Look at Sunspots is Helping NASA Scientists Understand Major Flares and Life Around Other Stars[Sunspots]

08/18/20: Research team develops the first physics-based method for predicting large solar flares. Most flare prediction methods so far have relied on empirical methods.The research team led by Professor Kanya Kusano (Director of the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University) recently succeeded in developing the first physics-based model that can accurately predict imminent large solar flares. [Solar Flares]

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