Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Education

Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Education is the SE Pennsylvania 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.

See our video: Roger Kennedy explains our Outreach Presentations
Email to request a presentation

Nuclear in Space with Timmy Telescope

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

04/12/2023: Study of Long-Term Solar Datasets: Exploring Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Solar Variability on Different Time Scales and Implications in Space Weather". The Sun is a magnetically active star with spatio-temporal variability, which can impact our terrestrial system. Various MHD models can simulate certain aspects of the evolution of the solar magnetic field on different time scales. Recently data-driven models as well as coupling data with models by means of data assimilation and information theoretic approach are being explored. [Solar Cycles]

01/23/2023: Astronomers captured a radio signal from the most distant galaxy. Detecting radio signals emitted by nearby galaxies could help astronomers answer how stars form in distant galaxies. [Spectroscopy]

12/09/2022: Solar Orbiter solves magnetic switchback mystery. With data from its closest pass of the Sun yet, the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has found compelling clues as to the origin of magnetic switchbacks, and points towards how their physical formation mechanism might help accelerate the solar wind. [Magnetic Fields and Waves]

10/2022: Uniting the Sun’s Hale magnetic cycle and “extended solar cycle” paradigms. Through meticulous daily observation of the Sun’s large-scale magnetic field the Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) has catalogued two magnetic (Hale) cycles of solar activity. Those two (~22-year long) Hale cycles have yielded four (~11-year long) sunspot cycles (numbers 21 through 24). Recent research has highlighted the persistence of the “Extended Solar Cycle” (ESC) and its connection to the fundamental Hale Cycle. [Solar Cycles]/p>

04/14/2022: Webb vs Hubble Telescope. [Spectroscopy]

04/12/2022: James Webb Space Telescope's next-gen spectrograph can observe 100 galaxies in one go. [Spectroscopy]

04/03/2022: Reading the Rainbow: Planets. Discover how astronomers read spectra to learn the story of distant planets. Also watch videos on using spectra to determine Temperature, Speed and Distance. [Spectroscopy]

04/02/2022: The Difference Between Flares and CMEs. [Solar Flares...]

04/01/2022: The Sun’s coronal loops may be an optical illusion . Some of the most spectacular features on the Sun are its coronal loops — incandescent structures of hot plasma that arc for thousands of miles above magnetically active regions of the Sun, forming what appear to be curving strands. A team of solar physicists say these iconic structures may not actually be loops at all. Instead, the loops may be an illusion rooted in a more complex structure — a magnetic sheet or curtain that is being pulled and wrinkled. [Magnetic Fields and Waves]

03/28/2022: Scientists Detect Bizarre High-Frequency Waves Coming From The Sun's Surface. Researchers have discovered a new set of waves in the Sun that, unexpectedly, appear to travel much faster than predicted by theory. The high-frequency retrograde (HFR) waves -- which move in the opposite direction of the Sun's rotation -- appear as a pattern of vortices (swirling motions) on the surface of the Sun and move at three times the speed established by current theory.

03/25/2022: Scientists solve solar secret. The further we move away from a heat source, the cooler the air gets. Bizarrely, the same can’t be said for the Sun, but University of Otago scientists may have just explained a key part of why. [Solar Wind]

03/24/2022: Classification of High-resolution Solar H-alpha Spectra Using t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding. The H-alpha spectral line is a well-studied absorption line revealing properties of the highly structured and dynamic solar chromosphere. This study is based on high-spectral resolution H-alpha spectra obtained with the echelle spectrograph of the Vacuum Tower Telescope (VTT).Since the number of spectra accumulated at VTT over one observing day easily reaches up to millions, it is necessqry to find tools to identify and classify spectra with minimal human intervention. [Spectroscopy]

03/22/2022: Nearby star could explain why our sun didn't have sunspots for 70 years. Astronomers identified a nearby star whose sunspot cycles appear to have stopped. Studying this star might help explain the unusual period from the mid 1600s to the early 1700s when our Sun paused its sunspot cycles. [Sunspots]

03/21/2022: The sun might have tricked us into optical illusion. Video about coronal loops.

03/11/2022: Magnetic reconnection breakthrough may help predict space weather. A West Virginia University postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy has made a breakthrough in the study of magnetic reconnection, which could prevent space storms from wreaking havoc on the Earth's satellite and power grid systems. [Space Weather]

03/08/2022: Astronomers discover largest molecule yet in a planet-forming disc. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands have for the first time detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc. With nine atoms, this is the largest molecule identified in such a disc to date. It is also a precursor of larger organic molecules that can lead to the emergence of life. [Spectroscopy]

03/04/2022: James Webb Space Telescope instrument gets ready to probe the universe's chemistry. The Near-Infrared Spectrograph passed initial checkouts amid the observatory's mirror alignment activities. [Spectroscopy]

02/25/2022: The Termination Event has Arrived. Something big just happened on the sun. Solar physicists Scott McIntosh (NCAR) and Bob Leamon (U. Maryland-Baltimore County) call it “The Termination Event.” “Old Solar Cycle 24 has finally died–it was terminated!” says McIntosh. “Now the new solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, can really take off.” [Solar Cycles]

02/24/2022: Massive solar telescope starts science observations. On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Inouye Solar Telescope commenced its first science observations, signaling the start of its year-long operations commissioning phase and a new era of solar science. The world’s largest solar telescope is now the cornerstone of a mission to advance our knowledge of the Sun and poised to revolutionize our understanding of the Sun and its impacts on Earth. [Solar Observation]

02/16/2022: How NASA spots potentially catastrophic geomagnetic storms before they strike.

11/04/2021: Astronomers make most distant detection yet of fluorine in star-forming galaxy. For the first time, astronomers have detected an element found in our bodies in a galaxy that is more than 12 billion light-years away. For more detailed information go to Fluorine in red giant stars [Spectroscopy]

08/17/2021: Fast changes between the solar seasons resolved by new sun clock. n a new study led by the University of Warwickl, scientists found that the change from solar maximum to the declining phase is fast, happening within a few (27 day) solar rotations. They also showed that the declining phase is twice as long in even-numbered solar cycles as it is in odd-numbered cycles. [Solar Cycles]

08/05/2021: Solving solar puzzle could help save Earth from planet-wide blackouts. Mathematician Dr Geoffrey Vasil has proposed a new understanding of the Sun's convection zone to help predict space weather. [Space Weather]

06/14/2021: Modeling a Coronal Mass Ejection from an Extended Filament Channel. [Solar Flares...]

06/07/2021: Physicists report definitive evidence how auroras are created. In a new study, a team of physicists led by University of Iowa reports definitive evidence that the most brilliant auroras are produced by powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms. The phenomena, known as Alfven waves, accelerate electrons toward Earth, causing the particles to produce the familiar atmospheric light show. [Aurora] [Alfven]

06/02/2021: Wave-particle energy transfer directly observed in an ion cyclotron wave. The first studies with Parker Solar Probe (PSP) data have made significant progress toward understanding of the fundamental properties of ion cyclotron waves in the inner heliosphere. [Magnetic Fields and Waves]


Additional news items