'Secrets of the Sun' - National Geographic documentary
My source: YouTube
Last viewed: 21st September 2013
Click the image to be directed to this documentary.
The 'Solar and Heliospheric Observatory' (SOHO) began orbiting and observing the Sun in 1996. Since then NASA have been able to view the Sun 24 hours a day, 365 days a year as SOHO orbits 92 million miles away. This constant observation has lead to the discovery that the Sun is neither solid, liquid nor a gas. It also lead scientists to discover that the Sun vibrates and makes sound which founded a new science - helioseismology. But, also as SOHO observed through it's several different cameras, it showed solar radiation storms and geomagnetic storms which can result in Coronal Mass Ejections (CME waves). CME waves emit billions of tonnes of electrically charged particles into space, travelling at over 1 million miles per hour. When directed towards Earth, CME waves threaten to damage our protection from the Sun's radiation - our magnetic field. Therefore, The National Space Weather Protection Centre (NOAA/NWS) watches SOHO in the hope that scientists can give warning before CME waves cause overloading of national power grids which can black-out cities for hours, days, weeks or even years.
-To view SOHO's images yourself, in real time, download NASA's 'Sun Viewer' application (post below).
- A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME): My favourite thing in all of astrophysics.
- The National Space Weather Prediction Centre (NOAA/NWS): http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/
- The documentary does not mention: how the charged particles from the Sun interacting with out magnetic field cause the auroras or 'Northern Lights', how and when the Sun will die or the effect of the Sun's gravity on the formation of the solar system and orbiting planets.
- NASA have also launched the 'Solar Dynamics Observatory' in 2010 which will hope to increase scientists chances of predicting solar storms and CME waves as we become ever more reliant on our electricity supply and technology.
BA Criminology & Sociology
University of Kent
Third year undergraduate