Posts from the ‘sun’ Category

The shuttle about to dock with the ISS, silhouetted against the sun.

It has baffled scientists for while now why the Sun’s atmosphere is hotter than its surface; a situation akin to having to shed clothing as you climbed Mt. Everest. Recent mathematical and astrophysics research from the University of Sheffield indicates that there are many magnetic plasma vortices (tornadoes) that bring up energy from inside the Sun and release it into the atmosphere. They’re relatively small compared to some of the ones that make the news occasionally, but still reach sizes greater than Great Britain and temperatures of several millions degrees kelvin.

Not only is the research answering questions about space, but the applications are important here too. If we can learn to use similar magnetic fields to control plasma here, there are ways to produce clean, green energy. The more ways we can do that, the better!

Voyager I is about to break into interstellar space – past the edge of our solar system. Or it may have already, we aren’t sure. What we do know is that it’s being bombarded by a lot more cosmic particles that are abundant outside of our solar system, but the sun keeps from entering it. The exact edge of the system is a pretty shaky boundary though, so hopefully when a few more calculations come in we can be a little more sure of where it is. 11.1 billion miles is pretty impressive for any little probe though!

scipsy:

Incandescent Sun

This image captures the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet, showing plasma in the solar atmosphere, called the corona, that is aroung 600000 Kelvin.

Most people don’t realize that a lot of the really cool pictures of nebulae and such are due to different filters being applied, and that the Pillars of Creation were not actually that color to the naked eye. Far from being manufactured though, I think it shows just how deep and complex everything is, not just the objects themselves but our ability to see them in so many ways. Science is great!

discoverynews:

embraceexpression:

Annular solar eclipse at Tokyo by Yoshihiro Sekine

time lapse!

Mmmm, time-lapse and eclipses. 

crownedrose:

Solar Eclipse Live Feed from California via SLOOH

I did a few screen caps and made a gif from the live feed from events.slooh.com where you can catch the last minutes of the solar eclipse.

thescienceofreality:

Super Moon? How About a Super Sun!

“On May 5, 2012, while everyone else was waiting for the “Super Moon” astrophotographer Alan Friedman was out capturing this super image of a super Sun from his back yard in Buffalo, NY!

Taken with a specialized telescope that can image the Sun in hydrogen alpha light, Alan’s photo shows the intricate detail of our home star’s chromosphere — the layer just above its “surface”, or photosphere.

Prominences can be seen rising up from the Sun’s limb in several places, and long filaments — magnetically-suspended lines of plasma — arch across its face. The “fuzzy” texture is caused by smaller features called spicules and fibrils, which are short-lived spikes of magnetic fields that rapidly rise up from the surface of the Sun.

On the left side it appears that a prominence may have had just detached from the Sun’s limb, as there’s a faint cloud of material suspended there.”

The clarity of this picture is incredible. I mean, just look at that bit of material that was just expelled! Also, job title: astrophotographer is awesome.

quantumaniac:

Earth Will One Day See a Second Sun

Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star located in the Orion constellation, about 640 light-years away from Earth – is preparing to explode via a supernova. When it does, the Earth will have a front-row seat; in fact, the explosion will be so bright that Earth will seem to briefly have two suns in the sky. 

Betelgeuse is one of the brightest and largest stars in our immediate galactic neighborhood – if you dropped it in our Solar System, it would extend all the way out to Jupiter, leaving Earth completely engulfed. In stellar terms, it’s predicted to explode in the very near future. Of course, the conversion from stellar to human terms is pretty extreme, as Betelgeuse is predicted to explode anytime in the next million years.

But still, whether the explosion occurs in 2011 or 1002011 (give or take 640 years for the light to reach Earth), it’s going to make for one of the most unforgettable light shows in our planet’s history. For a few weeks, the supernova will be so bright that there will appear to be two stars in the sky, and night will be indistinguishable from day for much of that time. So don’t count on getting a lot of sleep when Betelgeuse explodes, because the only sensible thing for the world to do will be to throw a weeks-long global supernova party.

Physicist Brad Carter explains what Earth (and hopefully humanity) can look forward to:

“This is the final hurrah for the star. It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up – we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all.”

Although there’ll be no missing the explosion, Carter points out that the vast majority of material shot out from the supernova will pass by Earth completely unnoticed:

“When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called neutrinos. They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever.”

In any event, the Betelgeuse explosion will likely be the most dramatic supernova Earth ever witnesses – well, unless our Sun eventually explodes and destroys our planet, which would probably leave Betelgeuse the runner-up.

We should have a global supernova party every year anyway!