Fireworks display after the 2012 UP Lantern Parade in Diliman, Quezon City.
Sparkling, warm and heartfelt new year wishes for you and your loved ones. Happy New Year, folks! 😀
Last glimpse of the 2012 Sun featuring 2 sunspot groups – AR 1638 (center) and 1640 (right).
2012 has been a huge year for astronomy observing, with some rare and exciting things that took place including the transit of Venus, occultation of Jupiter, solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions, and many more.
This 2013, a new comet is predicted to blaze brilliantly in the skies and is expected to reach naked eye visibility by early November 2013. If Comet ISON lucks out, we could well be raving about the Great Christmas Comet of 2013 by this time next year. Watch out for it!
Comet McNaught Over New Zealand. Credit & Copyright: Minoru Yonet
The visible solar disk now has several visible sunspot regions. The two largest regions are currently Sunspots 1176 and new Sunspot 1183. Both regions have BETA-Gamma magnetic classification and could produce M-Class flares.
Sunspots are magnetic in nature. They are the places (“active regions”) where the Sun’s magnetic field rises up from below the Sun’s surface and those magnetic regions poke through. Sunspots are darker than the surrounding areas because they are expending less energy and have a lower temperature. Sunspots often have poles (“polarity”) like the south and north poles of magnets.
These are formed continuously as the Sun’s magnetic field actively moves through the Sun. The sunspots have lifetimes of days or perhaps one week or a few weeks. (NASA-SDO)