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Sun of a…

April 28, 2013

Our solar system is kind of an awesome place. I remember being a kid and learning about how the planets orbit the sun and remembering their order with sayings like, “My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets” – which isn’t even true anymore because LOL on Pluto…

bro - do you even lift?

bro – do you even lift?

But obviously our solar system would be totally screwed without that big old ball-o-gas we all know and love as the sun. In real space terms, our sun is just a whimpy yellow dwarf that’s only about 4.6 billion years old. But to us – it’s source of life. It’s the base of the foodchain because it “feeds” the photosynthesizers – which BY THE WAY, you can thank algae for making such nice oxygen rich atmosphere for us to huff all day long. So it might not be a special star by cosmic standards, but it obviously has a special place in our hearts.

But our sun – she’s sort of a bitch sometimes. This past Wednesday she belched out a whole bunch of badness at little old Mercury not once, but TWICE. These stellar burps are more colloquially referred to as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and they are basically big eruptions of protons and electrons that blast waaaay out from the surface of the sun and into space.


braaaaap  (via NASA)

This time they both happened to explode out in the direction of Mercury, which is better than Earth if we’re being honest. The problem with CMEs is that they can interfere with the electronic systems on satellites, although they do make for some pretty awesome auroras. These two CME’s will likely have very little impact on us here on Earth, but the few satellites floating out there in the danger zone are all ready to go into “safe mode” to avoid damage when the CME’s blast by them at about 500 miles per second. Pew pew pew.


From → SPACE

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