Director's Log: JD 2459525.5

Fall is in full swing, and with the longer nights comes an amazing chance to see the Sun painting our sky with aurorae. The Sun is heading toward solar maximum sometime around the beginning of 2025, and although we still have a ways to go, we're already seeing remarkable solar flares that are triggering aurora visible down into the mid-latitudes. (Reminder: France, Massachusetts, and northern Japan span the same latitudes and correlate with southern New Zealand, Tasmania, Argentina, and Chile.)

If you've always wanted to see the aurora, the next few years offer a great opportunity. Plan a vacation or at least join a service that will alert you when to look up. The app My Aurora Forecast (Google | Apple) is one possible option. If you want to photograph the aurora, you'll need a camera that allows long-duration (bulb) exposures and a wide lens (for instance, a 55-mm or smaller number lens). I like my 55-mm when I'm trying to capture landscapes and an 18-mm for big sky pictures.

Beyond waiting (and wanting) for the aurora to miraculously make it as far south as St. Louis at the same time that we have clear weather, the past week has been quiet. The great shortages of 2021 led to a delay in the cardboard boxes we needed to ship Hangout-a-thon gift bags. Those boxes arrived yesterday (just flat-rate USPS boxes), and things should go out this week.

Fundraising is, ah, always on my mind. It is my hope that by December 1, our projections will point toward a $200,000 budget for the year. This means growing our Patreon community, and I'm hoping that some of you may be looking for a tax write-off for the end of the year. Nineteen new people have joined one of our Patreon communities in the past week. Given the size of our audience, this still means that only one of every 55 people is donating. I know a lot of people can't contribute, but if you can, please consider joining our community at We will do everything we can to make you proud. (And I will totally, gladly stop asking for money until next year as long as we stay on course to raise $200,000 for 2021-2022.)

I hope to see you over on Patreon.

In love and science,

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