Chapter 8: The Sun & The Universe: Secrets of the Sun
The sun is classified as a yellow dwarf, because of both its color and size. The sun is the only star in our solar system, and all of the planets revolve around it. The mass of the sun is equal to about one million earths. It can cause solar storms that interrupt much of our technology and means of communication. The amount of radiation that can reach Earth during a solar storm is particularly easy to reach on the north and south poles. It is because of this that some scientists worry that airplane passengers may be exposed to levels of radiation equal to roughly 100 x-rays while flying over the north and south pole. Sunspots are active regions on the sun that rotate around the sun. Solar storms are particularly dangerous when sunspots are facing towards Earth. Solar storms cause the aurora, which is driven by the magnetic field and energy from the sun. Elements are excited in our atmosphere, causing the elements to glow; this is similar to the way neon signs work. The strength of the aurora depends on the power of the ejecting sunspot, as well as the location that sunspot hits. Sunspots can reach earth in less than a day. The perfect solar storm, in today’s world could be crippling. Modern technologies would most likely not survive. This could effectively cause the failure of society as we know it, since we are particularly dependent on information gathered from satellites and other forms of technology, specifically technology used to predict the weather, or some other planetary event. In essence, a perfect solar storm would reduce the human race (as a majority) to “sitting ducks. The sun reverses polarities about every 11 years. During this time, solar maximums are achieved at the end of the eleven year cycle, while, during the duration of the eleven year period, a solar minimum is reached. On average, when the sun is at a solar minimum it is considered to be quiet, (such as the quiet before the storm)...
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