Friday, July 19, 2013

Learning about the Sun Start here>

Not Quite Quiet Sun

Nice and quite solar activity it is allowing me time to learn all the new details involved in setting up and creating a site to share all about the sun and solar activity. As with everything there is a learning curve involved. I was just telling my friend yesterday how many fun and exciting things there are to learn about in solar activity and space weather. I realized that lots of people are becoming more interested everyday and I thought it might be nice to share what I have managed to teach myself and what I am learning as I go. So lets start with this great video that I take no credit for.

What is a "quiet" Sun?

Of course quiet is a relative term during solar maximum as we are. Quiet is still quite active. Take for example this image of SDO's composite image of filters 171,193 and 211 ( will explain the filters later)

What to look for on the SDO images. 

There are many features that we look at that help us determine the space weather and also to
understand the sun better.
  • Active Region: An area of the sun that usually has a sunspot and on this image it is usually brighter. 

Active Region 11800
  • Coronal hole: An area of the sun that is cooler that the surrounding area in certain filter ranges and therefore appears darker in the image. It is cooler because that area has open lines of magnetic force that send a constant stream of material off of the surface of the sun called solar wind. Depending on the position of a coronal hole it has the potential to cause the earth and the satellites surrounding us some minor difficulties. 

Coronal Hole

  • Filament: A filament is material that queues up in long lines that look like snakes. These filaments are sometimes released or ejected off of the surface and that material and energy can effect us too.
  •  Magnetic Loops: These loops are a fascinating display of plasma physics. The hot plasma follows along the magnetic lines of force maintaining graceful loops for long periods of time.
  • Interesting features: The Last image is my favorite and not at all about science, its about imagination and vision, and just maybe something more...We humans have an innate ability to see patterns in chaos. It is an essential survival instinct. And because of that sometimes we can see something in the shapes forming on the surface of the sun that carry more meaning for us personally than just mechanical reactions. They are beautiful and they inspire feelings of awe and wonder, and maybe a personal message just for us. It is the living conscious being that is the Sun Whispering to US!

Looks like a person holding up or reaching up to the Sun ☼

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