Mr. Golden Sun

Photo: science.nationalgeographic.com

Kyle Watts

Staff Writer

 

The Sun (or Sol) is a massive fixture of our solar system, generating in a single second more energy than we have ever used in our history.  Sol is so massive that while we have two magnetic poles – the North and South – Sol has tens of millions.  These poles generate huge amounts of magnetic energy which form sunspots, or magnetic storms, on Sol’s surface.  They can also generate spectacular arches larger than Jupiter.  Eventually, the storms and arches (properly called prominences) will release their energy in the form of solar flares (in the case of sunspots) and coronal mass ejections (in the case of prominences).  Fear not, common people.  Sol is so massive, and we are so small, that the chance of us taking even a glancing blow from either of these emissions is infinitesimally low.  NASA keeps excellent track of these events and will be sure to inform the public if they become an issue, but there are a few things to watch out for.  First, due to the nature of our planet’s magnetic field, we could bear witness to the famous Aurora Borealis, despite being so far south; the reason being that the charged particles that enter our atmosphere and cause the auroras would be strong enough to carry southward.  Second, you’ll start to notice some of your technology, particularly ones that rely on satellites, acting strangely.  This is normal, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  Thirdly, solar flares and coronal mass ejections release bursts of energy all along the spectrum of light; this includes ultraviolet radiation.  So be sure to pack extra sun screen, or simply purchase one with a high SPF.

 

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