Category Archives: Sun

The Carrington Event

When Dr. G first mentioned the Carrington Event in class, I was equally interested and terrified. The idea that a solar coronal mass ejection could happen today and wreak havoc on electrical grids leading to blackouts and an inability to communicate has now been added to my list of fears (much in the same veinContinue reading “The Carrington Event” Continue reading

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What threat do Coronal Mass Ejections Pose to Us?

As discussed in class, one of the side effects of the Sun’s shifting magnetic field is that, occasionally, it arranges in an inconvenient fashion that causes the Sun’s plasma to explode aggressively outward. Thankfully, whenever that comes towards Earth, we are protected from any health effects thanks to our atmosphere. But as Professor Grundstrom mentioned,Continue reading “What threat do Coronal Mass Ejections Pose to Us?” Continue reading

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Solar Flares

The sun is massive. And despite it being so far away, I can’t help but wonder if activity on the sun could possibly effect life on Earth. Enter: solar flares. According to NASA, solar flares are “great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the Sun”. Occasionally, solar maximums occur whichContinue reading “Solar Flares” Continue reading

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A History of Observing the Sun

Kevin Durant, a two-time NBA champion, once tweeted: “I’m wondering how do these people kno what’s goin on on the the sun.. ain’t nobody ever been.” Like his tweet from 2010, I too wondered how humans have been able to study the Sun’s surface and what discoveries have been made to determine the surface’s characteristics.Continue reading “A History of Observing the Sun” Continue reading

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The Next Ice Age?

As we all know, the sun is an incredibly vital part of our daily lives and is the, “constant force that is keeping our planets in orbit, providing Earth with just the right amount of light and warmth for life…” and even governs our daily schedules in which we have created the concept of timeContinue reading “The Next Ice Age?” Continue reading

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No sunspots on the Sun?

Have you ever seen pictures of the Sun and noticed that it has dark spots on its surface? These sunspots are cooler than the other regions on the Sun, but they also represent the beginning of new solar cycles. In fact, some signs point to the next cycle, Cycle 25, having a much smaller numberContinue reading “No sunspots on the Sun?” Continue reading

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Aurora Borealis

Aurora borealis, or the “Northern lights,” as it is often called, is the result of our Earth’s magnetosphere deflecting harmful particles from the Sun from the Earth. They can best be seen from the Arctic Circle (Canada, Iceland, Finland, etc.). Every aurora in the solar system originates from the Sun. Periodically, the Sun has stormsContinue reading “Aurora Borealis” Continue reading

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The Danger of a Coronal Mass Ejection

A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is essentially a powerful expulsion of plasma and accompanying magnetic field from the solar corona, or the sort of aura of plasma that surrounds our Sun. While they have an extremely cool name, and seem pretty neat, they could actually have a pretty significant impact on humanity. The Sun has an incrediblyContinue reading “The Danger of a Coronal Mass Ejection” Continue reading

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The Sun

It is fascinating to think about the Sun. As we all know, it is our solar system’s star. The Sun’s energy, in the form of heat and light, is absolutely essential to all life on Earth. Plants need the Sun in order to go through photosynthesis and live, animals need the Sun for its foodContinue reading “The Sun” Continue reading

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What if the Carrington Event Occurred Today?

Are we ready for a Carrington-level event today? The short answer- not really. In 1859, Richard Carrington observed “two patches of intensely bright and white light” (a solar flare followed by a coronal mass ejection) on the surface of the Sun. The next morning, brilliant red, green, and purple auroral displays appeared as far as… Continue reading

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