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SPECTACULAR SUNSPOT: Today, big sunspot 1092 and its surroundings are putting on a spectacular show for anyone with a solar telescope. Click on the links for snapshots from around the world: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9
CELESTIAL TRIANGLE: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Venus, Saturn, and Mars have converged to form a skinny triangle in the sunset sky. Stefano De Rosa sends this picture from the shores of Viverone lake in Turin, Italy:
"Superbright Venus popped out of the twilight first, followed minutes later by Mars and Saturn," says De Rosa. "The sight of the lovely celestial triangle over the calm water of the lake was really great!"
The three planets will remain in triangular formation for many nights to come, only the angles will change. Keep an eye on the sunset! Sky maps: July 31, August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
more triangle images: from Amirreza Kamkar of Qayen, Khorasan, Iran; from Gary A. Becker of Coopersburg, PA; from Stefano De Rosa of Viverone lake, Turin, Italy; from Richard Glenn of Gold Beach, Oregon; from Adrian New of San Antonio, Texas
CORONAL MASS EJECTION: During the late hours of July 30th, a magnificent coronal mass ejection (CME) billowed away from the eastern limb of the sun. Click on the image to set the cloud in motion:
If a CME like this hit Earth, polar sky watchers would likely see bright auroras. In this case, however, the cloud is not aimed in our direction. At most, it would deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field around August 2nd, producing only minor geomagnetic activity.
The source of the blast was apparently sunspot 1092. Future CMEs could be more geoeffective as the sunspot turns to face Earth in the days ahead. Stay tuned!
Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: South Pacific Eclipse] [animated map]