Raining here, so this is the only way.
By all accounts Earth should be a “snowball planet” like the frigid world Hoth in the 1980 Star Wars film “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Why? Because common theories of stellar evolution predict that the sun was only 70 percent of its current brightness when it first lit its fusion engine 4.5 billion years ago. The sun has been steadily growing brighter since then and will continue so into the future, eventually evaporating away Earth’s oceans.
Astrophotographer Alan Friedman captured this gorgeous portrait of the sun on April 7 from his home in Buffalo, NY, using a backyard solar telescope and a new Grasshopper CCD camera by Point Grey Research. Viewed in a wavelength emitted by hydrogen alpha (Ha) the sun’s surface details become visible, showing the complex texture of our home star’s true face.
This week saw the arrival of a solar storm that many feared would cause electromagnetic havoc here on Earth (as well as giving us some more beautiful aurora porn). It didn’t prove to be all that bad in the end, but what exactly is a solar storm?
The kind folks at The Guardian have put together an interactive demo so that you can learn how they work. Of course, you’ll have to click through for the “interactive” part.