Blog 6: Trio of Solar Flares

Between April 2 to the 3 of 2017, three solar flares peaked out of the sun. Solar flares send out powerful bursts of radiation. This radiation is harmful, but luckily cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to harm humans. These solar flares however can affect, if strong enough, to disturb atmosphere layers where GPS and communication signals travel. While these solar flares where not strong enough to affect the atmosphere to the most extensive level, since they where a tenth of intensities of the flares who do.

The first flare was an M5.3, the second was a M5.7, and the final flare was an M5.8.  any M-class flare is a tenth the size of the most intense flares, which are the X-class flares. the number after provides more details specific details for how intense each flare was. M2 is twice as powerful as M1, and M3 is three times as intense as M1.

Sources for Pictures

These images where captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.


Sun Solar Flares

Blog 5: Pluto

Pluto’s atmosphere is layered making observations hard to figure out. While its atmosphere appears to be mostly cloud free, images taken by the new horizons’ cameras have shown potential clouds. These clouds would mean that the weather on Pluto is even more complex than previously understood or imaged.



Pluto’s surface is icy and has a wide spectrum of brightness. some of its brightest areas on Pluto are among the most reflective in the solar system. These extreme levels of brightness indicate that there is activity on Pluto’s surface.

Penitentes, bowl shaped depressions with jagged spires around the edges that rise several hundred feet have been found on Pluto. these are formed by erosion. since these have only been found on solar objects with atmospheres, it leads to the idea the formation of penitentes can only be found on planets with a developed atmosphere and ice on its surface. there height however depends on the environment. Pluto’s ridges are much larger than those found on earth; Pluto’s are almost 1,600 feet tall and two or three miles wide.




Pluto Cloud


Blog 4: Electron Rainfall



Earths two radiation belt known as the Van Allen belts where discover in 1958. But recent discoveries have shown that a third belt will sometimes appear. The image above shows the three belts in yellow and green represents the space between them.

The Van Allen Belts since they are regions of dynamic radiation are regions high-energy particles; they are trapped there by the earth’s magnetic field. These particles can gain and lose energize particles. they gain the particles from radiation from the sun. But they lose of particles is more interesting and can be depleted by a thousand-fold in mere hours. The loss of particles happens when intense bouts of solar radiation disturbs the earth’s magnetic field, causing drop-outs which are times when the belts lose a dramatic number of particles. Drop-outs involve power electromagnetic waves which scatter ultra-relativistic electrons in the radiation belt. This means the electrons will move down the waves and go into the atmosphere, or rain into the atmosphere. This occurs in the lower region of the belts close to earth.


Radiation Belt and Electron Rainfall

Blog 3: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day


This image was captured by Juno as clouds swirl around southern Jupiter. Juno is a spacecraft which was launched aboard an Atlas V-551 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 5, 2011 and arrive to its starting location near Jupiter in the past July. as of the past 11 days it has finished its elliptical polar orbit around Jupiter. Oval BA can be seen on the right-hand side only partially visible due to the current orientation of the planet. Oval BA is spot of intense storms which appears red, but current astronomers are uncertain of the cause of the red appearance. Current hypothesis is that the storm is so intense it is bringing materials called “chromophores,” color-changing compounds, to the top where solar ultraviolet rays turn them red. The redder the spot appears the more intense the storm is. The white swirls are cloud systems and planet circling-cloud bands; some of the lighter swirls have been suggested to be lighting storms.



Information about Oval BA

Information about Swirls 


Information about Juno

Blog 2: Archaeoastronomy

Archaeoastronomy:” The branch of archaeology that deals with the apparent use by prehistoric civilizations of astronomical techniques to establish the seasons or the cycle of the year, especially as evidenced in the construction of megaliths and other ritual structures.” (definition from

Archaeoastronomy: “The study of the astronomical practices, celestial lore, mythologies, religions and world-views of all ancient cultures” (definition from the center of achaeoastronomy)

One of the most well known archaeoastronomy sites is Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS), the more notable part of the Stonehenge structure, even though both parts have astrological significance. One reason for its fame is that it is one of the most architecturally sophisticastones-wintersunsetted prehistoric stone circle in the world. this site helps us understand Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and mortuary practices. Its construction was specifically made to align along the midwinter sunset-midsummer sunrise solstitial axis. The picture shows the sun align through Stonehenge during the winter solstice.


One of that is less well known archaeoastronomy sites is The Temple of Hathor at Dandara, Egypt. Known as the Dandara complex, it is extremely well preserved group including the temple to honor the goddess Hathor, the temple of Isis, two Mammisi, and a ruined C08temple-of-hathor-dendara-egyptoptic church. The temple of Isis is orientated towards the rising position of Sirius. The temple of Hathor contains different astronomical traditions which each add their own stars, asterisms and constellations. The monumental temple of Hathor is position to face the rising of Ursa Major while also being perpendicular to the flow of the Nile river. It is understood that the placement was to incorporate both astrological and topographic orientations. These ideas are understood from the ceremonies and related texts engraved on its walls. There are also feast calendars and the circular zodiac in the ceiling of the small chapel.




These archaeaoastronomy sites are use often to understand the history and tradition that was incorporated into the ancient societies.




The Center of Archaeoastronomy

Stonehenge Picture

Temple of Hathor Picture

Case Study and Information on Sites

Blog 1: Special Theory of Relativity

Before discussion the Special Theory of Relativity. Two observations must be understood; one that the speed of light is constant and two one cannot distinguish a state of rest from a state of constant velocity. The idea that the speed of light is constant has never been truly proven, but can be verified with experimentation. Galileo’s principle of reality discusses how inertial beings, those beings experimenting inertia, could not tell whether they are moving with a constant velocity or at rest.

In space the only concept which is constant is light; space and time become relative. The special theory of relativity states that as an objects velocity increases it measures a shorter distance, until the point it reaches the infinite limit of speed, speed of light, distance stops existing. This theory also states that if as the velocity of a running clock increases its time slows down until a point, once it reaches the speed of light, the clock stops running altogether. The last idea which is presented by the theory of relativity is that as an objects velocity increases its mass will increase until it becomes infinite when the speed is equal to the speed of light.


The second clock shows an earlier time since it has slowed down as it speed approached that of light. 

The reasons we in our everyday lives cannot see these ideas being expressed is because we never have large enough differences in speed to see the differences in distance, time, and mass. As an object approaches the speed of light the more warped its measurements of mass, distance, and time are.

The most exciting part of this theory is that it potentially leads to a way and understanding of how to time travel. If time stops when one reaches the seed of light, a connection can be easily drawn that by going faster than the speed of light we could go back in time.

-Sarah Healy


The Special Theory of Relativity

The Speed of Light and the Principle of Relativity


First blog post

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Hi Everyone,

This is my Blog, very exciting I know. A little about myself is that i am a freshman currently living in Murray House. I am Majoring in Astrophysics and hope to get a PhD at some point also in Astrophysics. While working for NASA would be great, I will happily end up working with the military, especially since my twin is already doing that. The picture I hope to attach is of my adorable and extremely loving dog Lilly.img_1085-2