Saturday, July 28, 2012

Really interesting website

I really love this website.  It has an amazing amount of information, primarily about the sun, and is updated frequently throughout the day.  Each section teaches something different.  I have become more interested and aware of just how dynamic our star is -- primarily from reading and learning related to info I've found here. 

I had no idea how solar flares travel through space -- first as energy followed by charged particles.  I did not know that the 'solar wind' changes frequently and that the earth is subjected to differing amounts of particles daily.  Sunspots have unique numbers and take about 10 days to traverse the face of the sun -- at least relative to us. Some are fairly benign, others are rip-snorters!

Often photos or animations about interesting and related phenomena, like northern lights or eclipse are included.  Estimates of the potential for X and M class flares and for geomagnetic storms are in the left margin.  A table lists the known asteroids we will encounter soon, and their distance from the earth is expressed in lunar distances.  Other charts I've seen use the solar distance as a reference point, which creates a major challenge in figuring out whether something is actually close, versus just closer than the sun!

OK, so I'm a little geeky sometimes. Maybe so. Just remember, if you check this and teach yourself like I did, then one day if there is an earth-directed X7 flare,  you'll know what it means and be able to react appropriately.

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