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Coming to a MeFite beach party this summer

In a post-speedo world of increasingly European beachwear the mankini, popularized by Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat, provides an alternative method of support and coverage for the discerning sunbather. This item of modesty, predominately marketed for the male physique but occasionally for the female, has been designed across a range of colors, styles, pouch volumes and variations in the number and positioning of straps. However, the approaching summer brings more swimwear options... [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jun 24, 2014 - 87 comments

Eppur si muove

The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

Dodging solar storms

FYI, we came close to losing the power grid back in 2012. What we? Oh, just the planet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 20, 2014 - 40 comments

If you plan on taking a trip to Jupiter, this is not the map to use.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 5, 2014 - 69 comments

ITER

A Star in a Bottle. "An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out."
posted by homunculus on Feb 25, 2014 - 52 comments

Jewel Box Sun, seeing the sun through different lights

"This video of the sun based on data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, shows the wide range of wavelengths -- invisible to the naked eye -- that the telescope can view. SDO converts the wavelengths into an image humans can see, and the light is colorized into a rainbow of colors." And because it's NASA, you can download the video in various formats.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 19, 2013 - 9 comments

Indirect fusion's nothing less than HiiiPoWeR

Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 30, 2013 - 41 comments

D.O.G.

For all those times you spent bored under the merchandise sign at an urban jazz festival, sweating, wrapping your head in striped garments, ripping the soles off your shoes in a primal fury, this man would like to dance for you.
posted by mannequito on Jul 10, 2013 - 11 comments

Somewhere between Elvis and the Lone Ranger

An interview with Jimmy Ellis and Gail Brewer Giorgio. (yt) [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Mar 17, 2013 - 1 comment

More beholden to magnetism than gravity

Fiery Looping Rain on the Sun (via badastronomy and NASA's SDO)
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 21, 2013 - 17 comments

How Grandmother Triode Stole Binary from the Sun

TRIODE.TXT
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
a story of people[0xCF36] as told by shaman.Accumulator.Overflows(true)
In the beginning, there were too many numbers, and nobody could tell exactly what they were. Everybody was confused about what was big and what was small, because everything was kind of big, but also kind of small. Nobody knew anything for sure....
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 27, 2013 - 22 comments

Second study corroborates Sun influence on radioactive decay even deep underground.

Sun seems to influence radioactive decay through no known mechanism. Radioactive decay is supposed to be the ultimate random process, immutably governed by an element's half life and nothing else. There is no way to determine when a single radioactive atom will decay, nor any way to speed-up or slow down the process. And now...the sun's influence has been corroborated.
posted by aleph on Sep 1, 2012 - 48 comments

Dance of the Celestial Orbs

Stunning video of the transit of Venus by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
posted by pashdown on Jun 6, 2012 - 72 comments

Two-faced photoaged

Undoctored photograph of a Chicago milk-truck driver's face. What we're seeing is called photoaging.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 5, 2012 - 72 comments

Last chance this century!

Missed the transit of Venus in 2004? Want to know if you'll be able to see the transit on June 5/6 from your location? Want a free badge-of-geekhood app for your iPhone? It's all right here! [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Jun 1, 2012 - 27 comments

Bad day for Oracle

Following a jury finding that Google had not infiringed upon Oracles patents, a development described as a near disaster for the database company, Judge William Aslup has ruled that the Java APIs cannot be copyrighted. That leaves Oracle with only the 9 lines of rangeCheck code and a handfull of decompiled test files to show for the massivecourt case. CEO Larry Ellison remains confident, claiming that the aquisition of Java creator Sun has still paid for itself.
posted by Artw on Jun 1, 2012 - 45 comments

September 1st, 1859: The Week the Sun Touched the Earth

Boston telegraph operator, (to Portland telegraph operator): "Please cut off your battery entirely from the line for fifteen minutes."
Portland operator: "Will do so. It is now disconnected."
Boston: "Mine is disconnected, and we are working with the auroral current. How do you receive my writing?"
Portland: "Better than with our batteries on. Current comes and goes gradually."
Boston: "My current is very strong at times, and we can work better without the batteries, as the Aurora seems to neutralize and augment our batteries alternately, making current too strong at times for our relay magnets. Suppose we work without batteries while we are affected by this trouble."
Portland: "Very well. Shall I go ahead with business?"
Boston: "Yes. Go ahead." — Ars Technica covers the story of the Great Auroral Storm of 1859, and the awe it inspired.
posted by Toekneesan on May 3, 2012 - 23 comments

Venus to transit sun in June

There's a little black spot on the sun today.... Venus transits the sun in June - it's a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us. (Bonus song lyric links here and youtube here)
posted by Lynsey on May 2, 2012 - 45 comments

The Sun on your desktop

Helioviewer.org "is an open-source project for the visualization of solar and heliospheric data. The project is funded by ESA and NASA."
See also the Wiki and the JHelioviewer application.
Go back in time to prominent events (June 7, 2011 for example), create layers from different observatories and even create your own movies.
posted by vacapinta on Apr 11, 2012 - 6 comments

The Sun's Angry Red Spot

The Sun has been in a bit of a mood lately, spitting out some pretty big flares (including the second largest one of the current magnetic cycle) Be sure to scroll down for the photo of the entire Sun, it will change the way you think about it.
posted by HuronBob on Mar 15, 2012 - 61 comments

A (potentially) not so sunny day

Earth Faces 12% Chance of "Catastrophic Solar Megastorm" by 2020 The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 29, 2012 - 75 comments

The sun is new each day. -- Heraclitus

Rupert Murdoch to replace the News of the World with the Sun on Sunday, meaning the Sun will publish 7 days a week. (Sun, BBC) In other News International news, Murdoch has reinstated the Sun journalists arrested for paying public officials, will pay their legal expenses, and has written to all of the Sun's journalists with a combative memo pledging support. The Guardian liveblogged the day.
posted by jaduncan on Feb 19, 2012 - 59 comments

The Fall of the House of Murdoch?

Five senior journalists and editors at the News International tabloid the Sun were arrested on Saturday along with three public officials as Operation Elveden, the British investigation into bribery of police by News International papers, broadened to include corruption of officials in the armed forces and Ministry of Defence as well. The Guardian reports that the new arrests escalate the stakes of the ongoing US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation of News Corporation, which carries potential penalties of millions of dollars of fines and prison sentences for senior executives. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Feb 11, 2012 - 93 comments

The Heliotropic Sounds of Sun Araw

Let's take a brief detour into the strange sonic labyrinth of Sun Araw. [more inside]
posted by SomaSoda on Jan 21, 2012 - 16 comments

Comet falls into sun

Today, a comet falls into the sun. Via
posted by hot_monster on Dec 15, 2011 - 27 comments

The galaxies are waiting.

In 1974, Sun Ra and his Arkestra released a film. In which he plays cards with a pimp and travels through space and time. There is social commentary. And music. He also made an album with the same name. [more inside]
posted by ooklala on Oct 27, 2011 - 20 comments

Where the night's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months near the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. This short, time lapse film was shot in June 2011 over 17 days and incorporates 38,000 images. The photographer/videographer traveled over 2,900 miles throughout Iceland. Midnight Sun (SL-vimeo, via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 18, 2011 - 24 comments

"The first image I made was purely for beauty..." photographing the analemma

"As noted elsewhere, more men have walked on the moon than have successfully photographed the analemma." (details) [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Sep 19, 2011 - 51 comments

It's SOHOt

On July 5th the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured video of a comet, known as a sungrazer, in route to collide with our star. SOHO is equipped with an occluding coronograph that blocks direct sunlight and reveals the corona, but also prevents direct study of the terminal impact of sungrazers. But on July 6th, with the help of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), astronomers were able to observe the comet (slyt) streaking in front of the surface of the sun for the first time in history. It likely disintegrated before impact due to extreme heat and radiation.
posted by troll on Jul 8, 2011 - 18 comments

The Sun lets loose a HUGE explosion

The Sun lets loose a HUGE explosion
posted by Anything on Jun 7, 2011 - 74 comments

The Sun is Still a Mass of Incandescent Gas

NASA has released the first STEREO images of the entire sun.
Previous. Previouser. Previousest.
posted by steambadger on Feb 9, 2011 - 17 comments

"Obliterating Anything!"

Solard Death Ray: Power of 5000 suns! [SLYT] The R5800: made from an ordinary fiberglass satellite dish, it is covered in about 5800 3/8" (~1cm) mirror tiles. When properly aligned, it can generate a spot the size of a dime with an intensity of 5000 suns! This amount of power is more than enough to melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant. It stands at 5'9" and is 42" across.
posted by Fizz on Jan 30, 2011 - 59 comments

Make light of it

Various songs explain the sun; The Chromatics. The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas. Erskine. Why Does the Sun Really Shine?
posted by twoleftfeet on Jan 21, 2011 - 32 comments

Kind of like a zit, but full of plasma.

One of the most enduring mysteries in solar physics is why the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, is millions of degrees hotter than its surface. - Now scientists believe they have discovered a major source of hot gas that replenishes the corona
posted by The Whelk on Jan 8, 2011 - 13 comments

Far Out

"This page shows a scale model of the solar system, shrunken down to the point where the Sun, normally more than eight hundred thousand miles across, is the size you see it here. The planets are shown in corresponding scale." [more inside]
posted by bwg on Dec 21, 2010 - 63 comments

This Is What a Sunspot Looks Like

The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic on Dec 18, 2010 - 46 comments

How Hou Yi Shot The Suns

In the time of the Chou Dynasty it was believed there existed Ten Celestial Suns. Each day, one sun would be harnessed to a jade dragon and drawn across the heavens, bringing life and light to the world. It was their duty, all they had known - but in their hearts a cold and secret fire grew... [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 6, 2010 - 22 comments

Stars in my backyard

How is it possible for an individual to build a planetarium? In most cases it is impossible. One must first truly love the beauty of the night sky and be willing to share that love with others. Wisconsin Man Builds Planetarium in His Backyard. [more inside]
posted by fixedgear on Dec 5, 2010 - 20 comments

The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements

Solar flares may be affecting radioactive decay rates
posted by Confess, Fletch on Aug 24, 2010 - 57 comments

When the sun goes down

Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity. Apparently it was just a faulty conveyor belt. The solar minimum of 2008 is gone but not forgotten.
posted by twoleftfeet on Aug 15, 2010 - 7 comments

It weebles and it wobbles but it won't fall down.

Year On Earth breaks it down, explaining the complicated mechanics involved in trying to determine how long a year really is, why seasons and ice ages happen, and how not all years are created equal.
posted by loquacious on Jul 5, 2010 - 22 comments

The Sun is a Mass of Cyclically Furious Gas

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity." Dr. Richard Fisher and other sun-gazing scientists recently discussed the upcoming peak in the 11-year sunspot cycle. Due to the ever-increasing humans' reliance on electrical systems, the storm could leave a multi-billion pound damage bill and "potentially devastating" problems for governments. Constant improvements in satellite designs have assisted in bracing for a solar superstorm, an effort that comes in part by studying the impacts records of activity from past peaks in solar storms. System limits are set based on significant solar storm-triggered events in the past, though the largest magnetic storm on record was before the modern understanding of solar events. The solar storm of 1859, also known as The Carrington Event, when "telegraphs ran on electric air," was experienced around the world. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 15, 2010 - 52 comments

Blink and you'll miss it

As the shuttle program winds down, astrophotographers like Thierry Legault are taking advantage of these last opportunities to capture absolutely incredible shots like this one, showing Atlantis' transit in front of the sun as it performs its inspection backflip before docking with the ISS. His other photography includes this magnificent series of the launch of STS-125. [more inside]
posted by disillusioned on May 19, 2010 - 16 comments

Set the controls for the heart of the Sun

"First Light" for the Solar Dynamics Observatory - researchers unveiled "First Light" images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope designed to study the Sun.
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 21, 2010 - 42 comments

At least it wasn't ritual disemvoweling

"Financial crisis
Stalled too many customers
CEO no more."


Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz resigns via twitter haiku.
posted by Artw on Feb 4, 2010 - 62 comments

The sun is a mass of incandescent (Blue) gas...

Astronomy Picture of the Day presents a truly magnificent sight: the blue sun.
posted by Taft on Nov 4, 2009 - 36 comments

The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma

...the lyrics to that last song were basically taken from an encyclopedia written in the 50s, and since the 50s, some remarkable things have happened...
In 1959, a number of songs about science were released on an album called Space Songs. One of these was later covered by the band They Might Be Giants: Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas). Only one problem: it isn't--the song was based on an incorrect text from 1951. So they wrote an answer song to themselves: Why Does The Sun Really Shine? (The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma). Bonus link: see for yourself! (previously)
posted by Upton O'Good on Sep 6, 2009 - 35 comments

Discovering the Sun

Sungazer — discover the awesome beauty of the Sun. See images of Earth sized sunspots, towering prominences, and rivers of hot gas. Then, explore the cameras, telescopes, and accessories used in solar astro photography. (previously)
posted by netbros on Jun 10, 2009 - 9 comments

The Curious Case of the Missing Sunspots

Solar activity normally follows an 11-year cycle. The new cycle was originally predicted to start in early 2008, but despite a few sunspots appearing last year, the Sun still features a remarkable lack of activity - the deepest minimum since 1913. However, NASA's STEREO mission has seen indications that activity is increasing again, in the form of a coronal mass ejection (video [.mov, 3.3 Mb]), with an accompanying radio burst.

[Previously]
posted by Electric Dragon on May 20, 2009 - 16 comments

But that's where the fun is

Atlantis. Hubble. And a big, yellow friend. Astrophotographer Thierry Legault managed to get amazing shots of Space Shuttle Atlantis approaching the Hubble Space Telescope during a transit of the sun. [more inside]
posted by dhartung on May 15, 2009 - 46 comments

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