A perfect space storm
, which happens about every century, like the one that occurred in 1859
, could cause "catastrophic social and economic disruptions", according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences
on behalf of NASA. "Potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply and so on," the report states. Outages could take months to fix, the researchers say. Banks might close, and trade with other countries might halt. The next peak in solar activity is expected around 2012.
posted by stbalbach
on Jan 7, 2009 -
Pink Floyd fans may not need no education but Gilmourish
, an exhaustive review of the guitars and audio effects of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (with help from an insider), will leave most comfortably numb.
posted by punkfloyd
on Oct 19, 2007 -
The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo
in Peru may be the Western Hemisphere's oldest known full-service
solar observatory, showing evidence of early, sophisticated Sun cults
, according to archaeoastronomy
professor Clive Ruggles
. The 2,300-year-old complex featured 13 towers running north to south along a ridge and spread across 980 feet to form a toothed horizon that spans the solar arc
. Last year, another ancient observatory was discovered in Peru by Robert Benfer
. The Temple of the Fox
is 4,200 years old, making it 1,900 years older
than the Chankillo site, but wasn't a complete calendar.
posted by homunculus
on Mar 3, 2007 -
Instead of reducing emissions, maybe we can block out the sun.
This is a proposal offered by the United States in response to a draft of a UN report on climate change, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the linked article, the U.S. has resisted a treaty that would involve binding targets for emissions reductions, and is instead pushing for the exploration of techniques for blocking out the sun, including (according to the Sydney Morning Herald article) "putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulfate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption." This is via Yale Law professor Jack Balkin, who speculates that there is Biblical precedent for this proposal
posted by jayder
on Jan 29, 2007 -
Transit of Mercury again. here
Transit of Mercury again. Today -- and not for another seven years or so -- Mercury passes between the Earth and the Sun, shwoing up a speck-like black circle. But don't look. Starting times, real-time visual, ways to see it and another caution are here. rotoman
posted by rotoman
on Nov 7, 2006 -
Because spaceflight, in and of itself, is just way to easy.
On 08 August 2001, NASA launched Genesis
. It was a spacecraft that would spend 1125 days in space, including 884 days collecting 0.4 milligrams of solar particles. At that point, it would launch a 500 lbs return vehicle that would travel 600 mph back to earth. When it enters the atmosphere, at approximately 11:55am EST on Wednesday of this week, it will be going close to twenty-five thousand
mph. Oddly enough, this is the easy part of the mission.
Because then, two minutes later, NASA is going to catch it. In mid-air. With a helicopter. Really.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow
on Sep 7, 2004 -
Global Dimming?!? In the second half of the 20th century, the world became, quite literally, a darker place.
Defying expectation and easy explanation, hundreds of instruments around the world recorded a drop in sunshine reaching the surface of Earth, as much as 10 percent from the late 1950's to the early 90's, or 2 percent to 3 percent a decade.
Has anyone been following this
? Heat I might do without for a while, but I've grown very fond of light.
posted by ahimsakid
on May 13, 2004 -
Who Would Have Thought?
Sun and Microsoft just announced an historic 10 year collaboration agreement (an announcement that ended with Scott McNealy and Steve Ballmer actually shaking hands). What do you think? Ultimately beneficial ... or not?
posted by MidasMulligan
on Apr 2, 2004 -
The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle
shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm
) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time
. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up
correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch
, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.
posted by yupislyr
on Oct 28, 2003 -
Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., observed two dynamic areas of the sun
, one of which has produced a coronal mass ejection
, or CME, Wednesday morning at 3 a.m. EDT that appears to be Earth-directed. The forecasters are predicting a strong geomagnetic storm, G-3 on the NOAA Space Weather Scales, that should reach Earth on Friday, October 24. Satellite and other spacecraft operations, power systems, high frequency communications, and navigation systems may experience disruptions over this two-week period. Auroras
visible in the lower 48 states are possible tonight and tomorrow.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 24, 2003 -
Solar blast expected to hit Earth at 3PM EST!!! Cell-phones, satellites, pagers and electrical grids may be disrupted!!! Could last 12-18 hours!!! Space martians land!!! Bad Friday Traffic!!! ACK!!!! *zap*
posted by omidius
on Oct 24, 2003 -
A Doomed planet
orbiting a distant star has been located. No, not Krypton
. The planet is going to be consumed by the star soon
, but astronomers are not going to wait up for it.
posted by kaemaril
on Jan 28, 2003 -
Oh No - Not the O-Zone Layer AGAIN!
It seems that our wonderful ozone hole over the Earth has split in two... Now you don't need to wear 100 sunblock just on Australia and Antarctica. But scientists *sound* a little happier, or perhaps I'm just reading into it a little too much.
posted by djspicerack
on Sep 30, 2002 -
A very well designed site on the Analemma
. Don't be scared off by the math, as there are excellent diagrams and quicktime movies on this difficult to visualize phenomena. Difficult, but not impossible, to photograph (probably less than 10 photos are in existence) Ulrich Bienert
came close, and has a gallery and some tips if you're so inclined.
posted by quercus
on Aug 6, 2002 -
Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron?
Well that's what a UMRolla professor thinks anyway -- instead of being mostly hydrogen, that the sun is actually mostly iron
. He's going against all popular belief, and indeed lots of evidence, but his theory states that our sun formed around the iron core of an old supernova.
posted by LuxFX
on Jul 24, 2002 -
Did you see it?
The total eclipse of the sun happened this morning at 6:11am. It's not too late, thanks to streaming video.
posted by fooljay
on Jun 21, 2001 -
A £900,000 mirror sculpture destined for a square in Nottingham, UK, will have to be shielded to prevent it focusing the Sun's rays and barbecuing passing birds. Anish Kapoor's
highly polished concave steel mirror is six metres in diameter. Direct sunlight hitting the mirror would be focused into a narrow beam of light as hot as the surface of the Sun, says astronomer Michael Merrifield of Nottingham University.
posted by zeoslap
on Mar 7, 2001 -
Hey, Baby -- did you feel that?
The sun, someday, will envelope the Earth and all life as we know it will die. Can we prevent this? Some wacky scientists think that the best thing to do would be to up and move the whole damn planet.
posted by amanda
on Feb 22, 2001 -