Monday, January 30, 2012

Stripes Had Better Be In

On Friday Dave took me to the beach. The water was a bit chilly. I know this because I took off my shoes and played tag with the ocean. I also picked up a rock. It has stripes.

You know what else has stripes? The sky. 


Last week the sun blasted us with charged particles. It disrupted high frequency radio waves for two days. The sun is beginning a cycle of regular solar storms, which should occur about once a month through 2013. They won't all hit us, of course--the sun is a sphere and could hiccup in any given direction, towards the Earth or not. These light shows--called aurora borealis in the North and aurora australis in the South--create some of the most beautiful skies ever visible on Earth.


Awesome thing number one: one charged particle is just a charged particle. But a collection of charged particles is actually plasma. A lot of science fiction stories include plasma guns--weapons that spout ionized gases that disrupt robotic systems, destroy living matter, and generally cause all sorts of excited chaos. Well guess what. The sun does this to us all the time.

Awesome thing number two: the sun does not hate us (or love us, take your pick)--other planets have auroras too. Jupiter continues to be my favourite planet. Check out this sweet picture of Jupiter's aurora:


 That made me think, "I wonder what our aurora looks like from space?" Someone else thought of that too. Someone who actually gets to go to space.


 

Awesome thing number three: sometimes the Sun practices exploding. On these nights the Earth dresses up, like for a fancy dress party, sparkling with gems and plasma jewelry, the princess of the solar system. And we are just little germs, scurrying around on the surface building castles and highways, afraid that our communications systems will be disrupted by the sun.


One day I want to go to Alaska. I will plan my trip around projected solar flares. If I do it right, maybe I can see the aurora over the ocean. I'll take my striped rock and wear pinstriped pants and a striped scarf. If I'm lucky, stripes will even be in that season. Otherwise I will have to be uncool. Uncool, perhaps, but happy.

16 comments:

  1. with any luck, you'll get to see some northern lights soon without leaving home. I have seen some pretty nice ones at the lake. they can be really spectacular. it reminds me how small we are, and how much we are affected by things we know little or nothing about.

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  2. Cool pictures.
    Not much to see skyward in North Jersey.

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  3. Great take on the sun and its atmosphere -- full of sci-fi drama that makes it sound more phenomenal.

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  4. What's amazing is that people like you can get a hold of some beautiful equipment to see beautiful things, objects, and resources to allow us into your world to see them and I thank you for the insight..maybe you will show me more...

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    1. Thanks! I've written a number of blogs about the general awesomeness of the universe. If you're interested, check out these two, or browse through my archive:

      http://www.inlovewiththeuniverse.com/2012/03/grapefruit-universe.html

      http://www.inlovewiththeuniverse.com/2012/03/how-much-is-universe-worth.html

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  5. I didn't know about other planets having auroras. Beautiful picture of Jupiter.

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    1. I didn't either, until I wrote this post :) I think it's amazing.

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  6. Cool! You may appreciate my latest music video at YouTube! "Auroras" is a slide-show of abstract art and some philosophical innuendos, backed by my home-spun music composition. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/M8EBFjYg-co

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  7. You might like my solar angel visits collection of auroras too. http://heartwarp.blogspot.com

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  8. woah! THAT was amazing! I've heard of this beautiful light show before...I hope I'm as lucky to see one, I'd probably die..lol

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