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

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]

10/24/18: Nuclear fusion: wrestling with burning questions on the control of 'burning plasmas'. What would it take to meet the world's energy needs, sustainably, far into the foreseeable future? Perhaps creating energy the way the sun does, through nuclear fusion. [Plasma]

10/24/18: Physicist, International Team Report First ‘Snapshot’ of Complete Spectrum of Neutrinos Emitted by the Sun. About 99 percent of the sun's energy emitted as neutrinos is produced through nuclear reaction sequences initiated by proton-proton (pp) fusion in which hydrogen is converted into helium, say scientists. Comprehensive measurement of pp-chain solar neutrinos. [Spectroscopy]

10/19/18: Surprise finding: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields. Magnetic forces ripple throughout the universe, from the fields surrounding planets to the gasses filling galaxies, and can be launched by a phenomenon called the Biermann battery effect. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that this phenomenon may not only generate magnetic fields, but can sever them to trigger magnetic reconnection – a remarkable and surprising discovery. [Magnetic Fields]

09/25/18: Solar Wind and Corona Timeline. Key discoveries and ideas that led to our current understanding of the corona and the solar wind, leading up to the newest spacecraft in NASA’s Heliophysics fleet [Solar Wind].

09/20/18: Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of Sun-like stars for the first time Sun-like stars rotate up to two and a half times faster at the equator than at higher latitudes, NYU Abu Dhabi researchers have discovered, a finding that challenges current science on how stars rotate. Scientists at the NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Space Science used observations from NASA’s Kepler mission and asteroseismology — the study of sound waves traveling inside stars — to determine with precision how Sun-like stars rotate, which no other scientific method has been able to achieve. [sunspots]

09/07/18:NASA-funded Rocket to View Sun with X-Ray Vision. The FOXSI sounding rocket will scour the Sun with X-ray vision, looking for the mysterious mini-explosions that heat the corona to millions of degrees. [Solar Observation]

09/04/18: Terahertz spectroscopy enters the single-molecule regime. Researchers showed that long-wavelength terahertz (THz) spectroscopy can detect motion of single molecules, not just molecular ensembles. They used a single-molecule transistor design, where pairs of metal electrodes trap isolated C60 molecules, focus the THz beam onto them, and measure current change caused by THz-induced oscillation. Two vibrational peaks were recorded. The measurement was sensitive enough to register slight peak-splitting caused by electron charging. This could promote wider use of THz spectroscopy. [Spectroscopy]

08/17/18: First Science with ALMA’s Highest-Frequency Capabilities A team of scientists using the highest-frequency capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has uncovered jets of warm water vapor streaming away from a newly forming star. The researchers also detected the “fingerprints” of an astonishing assortment of molecules near this stellar nursery. [spectroscopy]

Additional news items