Free Astronomy Magazine – And Aurora! – July-August 2024 Issue Available For Reading And Download

Above: The Sun, putting on another show the morning after (11 May 2024) from downtown Rochester.

The most recent issue of Free Astronomy Magazine (July-August 2024) is available for your reading and downloading pleasure in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Arabic at (and facebook).

Browser-readable version (and PDF download):

The amazing aurora from May 10/11 of this year (didn't you hear? was perfectly timed to coax an informative article for this issue about when and how often the Sun might be far less benign. Since the solar events of 1859, we've gone even farther down some "War Of The Worlds"-esque path, where our technology has become simultaneously more complex (computation) yet more fragile (one good solar storm = kaput). Whereas the Carrington Event lit some telegraph lines and made for some great press the days and weeks after, a similar (or worse) event might risk knocking out every satellite we have in orbit and a whole lot of transformers on the ground, setting us back decades and sending us back as far as our own natures might permit.

With that said, I'm very pleased that Michele chose to replace one of his much better aurora pics from the original draft with one that I took (that I only sent along to show him that we had a display here as well).

That story – The Mrs. and I snuck out after the kids were asleep on May 10th in hopes of finding a quiet clearing along the southern edge of Lake Ontario. Try as we might, every festival that could have been going on was going on. 45 minutes of driving later, we head back to the house having not seen much of anything on the road anyway. I park and go to the deck for one random look and, good heavens, aurora! We're minutes from major retailers, lit parking lots, neighbors who have complicated my observing attempts for years, and the show was amazing. Grabbed the camera and tripod, set to long exposure, and just hung out for another hour. Was, by far, the best show I've ever seen the Sun put on. Click either below for a larger view.

Dazed and tired from the night before, we're making our morning rounds on the 11th when the Sun put on another impressive show from the comfort of our sunroof – in this case a gorgeous halo.

Morning solar halo, with random bird for unusable scale.

Made up, a bit, for missing the total solar eclipse around here.