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Updated June 01, 2013
The Sun bathes the Earth with light rays always, but sometimes events, but not without consequence for humans, occur.
The sun continually produces 380 billion billion megawatts (3.826 × 1026 W) and it for billions of years. In one second the Sun releases more energy than all mankind since its birth.
Consumption i.e. the loss of solar mass is 4 million tons of hydrogen per second, because it converts 564 million tons of hydrogen into 560 million tons of helium. How the Sun produces Does this energy?
This cauldron makes its energy by nuclear fusion through the enormous pressure and temperature that exist in his heart. If enough gas is heated, electrons are detached from atoms and move freely, material no longer behaves like a gas and was then called plasma.
The hydrogen atoms launched against each other by the enormous pressure, will be transformed into helium atoms, this process generates fusion of atoms with a mass slightly smaller and this difference is released as energy. Thousands of explosions shook the magnetic Sun.
The Sun's magnetic field has not only two poles, north and south and on land, but between 1 and 10 million. Although maintained by gravity, the plasma was not uniform rotation at the equator solar plasma achieved a revolution every 25 Earth days, while the poles it takes about 35 days.
This differential rotation creates magnetic field lines twisted and tangled, which amounted loops prominences in the solar atmosphere. These loops are called plasma flux ropes. When the accumulated energy must be released, the mass of plasma is then propelled into space. When a sunspot magnetic energy it releases its results in a huge explosion of about a billion megatons, the Sun's surface.
Solar flares send continuously high energy particles in space and time to time a bubble of superheated plasma radioactive and reaches Earth. When these coronal mass ejections (CME) propelling a huge amount of material are in the direction of the Earth they can cause considerable damage. Fortunately, the planet's magnetic shield protects us in many of these solar storms. These storms can cause electrical currents in the exosphere, the last layer of the atmosphere and turn off the satellites and other electrical infrastructure land. Space weather forecasters sometimes issue alerts when there is a need to sleep some satellites and electrical networks that can get overloaded.
In 1989 part of Quebec, approximately six million people were plunged into darkness due to a solar phenomenon that has damaged transformers.
The sun is monitored closely, such as milk on the fire because the Earth is sometimes compromised by its activities. What are sunspots that cause the most severe storms, meteorologists also follow them carefully as they rotate at the solar surface.
What is important is to monitor the location and direction of the ejections. As the plasma cannon is not directed towards Earth is not worrisome.
The area of all hazards is the center of the Sun facing the Earth rotation. If CME form at the time they can be targeted directly at the planet Earth and hit hard. How do we know that we are affected by solar storms?
Solar storms create beautiful colors shimmering around our planet, it is the aurora. The northern excite some elements of our atmosphere and make it shine.
Oxygen molecules emit red or green while nitrogen emits pinks, blues and purples. The aurora is confined to the poles but at huge storms, they can go down to the equator. In 1859, the aurora reached Rome.
This storm was so intense and perfect alignment so that the planet has received a huge amount of material, it was the perfect solar storm. In our time, a new perfect storm would produce devastating consequences for our technologies would be harmed.
We could lose our satellite communications and our power, plunging the planet into chaos. The solar cycle is a periodic phenomenon. It oscillates around a period of 11 years on average with a mix of minimum and maximum activity. At the end of the cycle the polarity of the magnetic field was reversed relative to the end of the previous cycle. The solar magnetic cycle has a period of about 22 years. The most spectacular events in times of intense magnetic activity are the appearance of sunspots and prominences. The number of spots increased gradually during the 11-year cycle, the next maximum would occur in 2012.
"When the solar wind pushes the Earth's magnetic field, the effect is huge: there is output voltage of 100,000 volts, currents of 10 million amperes and power up to 1,000 billion watts, Sofko said George, a physicist at the University of Saskatchewan.
Image: The protrusions are coronal mass ejections (CME). Every second 564 million tons of hydrogen to produce fusion come into 560 million tons of helium, the 4 million tones of waste are converted into energy.
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Image: This photo shows the huge projection made by TESIS, imagine the size of the pons compared to the size of the Earth represented by the little blue dot in the upper right of the image.
Solar activity, eruptive filament
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Meteorologists space sometimes may emit warnings, then it is necessary to put in slumber some satellites and power grids which can be found overloaded. In 1989 part of Quebec, about six million people were plunged into darkness due to a solar phenomenon that damaged transformers. The Sun is monitored closely, as the milk on the fire because the Earth is sometimes threatened by its activity. These are the sunspots that cause the most severe storms, meteorologists also follow carefully as they rotate on the surface of the Sun. What is important is to monitor the location and direction of ejection. As the plasma gun is not directed towards the Earth is not alarming. Area of all dangers is the center of the Sun in rotation front to the Earth. If the CME burst at this moment it can directly target the Earth and hit the planet.
How do we know that we are affected by solar storms?
Solar storms create beautiful shimmering colors around our planet, are the dawns. Dawn excite some elements of our atmosphere and shine. Oxygen molecules emit red or green color while nitrogen emits pinks, blues and purples. Dawns are confined to the northern pole but when huge storms, they can go down to the equator. In 1859, dawns reached Rome. This storm was so intense and perfect alignment so that the planet has received a tremendous amount of matter, it was the perfect solar storm.
In our time, a new perfect storm will produce devastating effects because our technologies will be severely disturbed. We could lose our communications satellites and our power supply, plunging the world into chaos. The solar cycle is a periodic phenomenon.
Sun's magnetic field changes direction, it oscillates around a period of 11 years on average with alternating minimum and maximum activity. At the end of the cycle the polarity of the magnetic field is reversed from the end of the previous cycle. The solar magnetic cycle has a period of about 22 years. The most spectacular events in a period of intense magnetic activity are the appearance of sunspots and prominences.
The number of spots increases progressively during the 11-year cycle, the next maximum would occur in 2012. "When the solar wind pushes the Earth's magnetic field, the effect is huge: we assist at a voltage production of 100,000 volts, currents of 10 million amps and of power reach 1000 billion watts" said George Sofko, a physicist at the University of Saskatchewan.
Video: NASA has released a video of a particularly impressive June 18 solar flare. « Solar debris » would have been ejected during this eruption and scientists are trying to understand the possible impacts on Earth.
The random walk of the photon
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The energy produced by nuclear fusion is conveyed from the heart of the Sun by light particles called photons and heat. Those are the particles that carry light rays to the Earth. This particle created in the solar core will pass through all layers of the Sun, the radiative zone and the convection zone, the photosphere and finally the solar atmosphere. A photon begins to penetrate the radiative zone of 300 000 km thick, the density is so high that the photon from constantly colliding with other particles such as atoms ionized hydrogen and helium. The increase of the photon is chaotic, it is called by scientists, the photon random walk. The photon is absorbed by atoms and reissued immediately, back and forth is repeated millions of times. As in so far as it goes up to the Sun's surface, the density of matter decreases, there are fewer collisions and interactions, the walking in front is much less chaotic. When there is more than 200 000 km from the surface, the photon enters the convective zone and the pace is accelerating, the photon is pushed outward by the bubbling of the material. Captivated by huge columns of gas, then it must not only ten days to reach the Sun's surface.
The photon emerges gases of the solar atmosphere. Then it takes only 8 minutes to cross the 150 million miles that separates our planet.
Image: The proton-proton cycle, first merging two protons in a nucleus of deuterium to create a helium nucleus, the portion of the photons are released.
The hydrogen atoms launched against each other by the enormous pressure, will be transformed into helium atoms, this process generates fusion of atoms with a mass slightly smaller and this difference is released as energy.