Someone asked about Solar Updates and activity. Here's a good source.
Sunspot data is often included as to solar flares.
Space Weather News for Dec. 17. 2007
CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS: Have you noticed an intense red star rising in
the east in recent evenings? That's no star, that's Mars. The red planet
is having a close encounter with Earth this week. At closest approach on
Tuesday evening, Dec. 18th, the two worlds will lie only 55 million miles
apart. Mars won't be this nearby again until the year 2016. To the naked
eye, Mars now outshines every star in the night sky (it is slightly brighter
than Sirius) and it looks great through a backyard telescope. Visit
http://spaceweather.com for photos, observing tips and sky maps.
NOTE: While, technically speaking, Mars is at its best and brightest only on
Dec. 18th, the red planet will remain unusually close and beautiful for
weeks to come. This makes it a Merry Martian Christmas for anyone who finds
a telescope under their tree on Dec. 25th:
GREAT GEMINIDS: The Geminid meteor shower peaked on Dec. 14th and 15th; as
predicted, it was a great show. Some observers counted more than a hundred
meteors per hour including fireballs that cast shadows like a full moon and
gave off ghostly-sounding radio echoes. It's all chronicled in our Geminid
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