Looking at the Sun

(Photo Credit: Space.com)

It’s the season for sun spots and you can see them yourself! But don’t look directly at the sun, you need proper optical protection. But what is the sun exactly? The sun is our star and displays some interesting characteristics. A long time ago spots were discovered by early Chinese astronomers, although, Glalileo was first in the western world to record spots on the sun. If you can see spots on the surface without magnification they would have to be 24, 000 miles in diameter. Pretty large, but don’t worry the earth has a magnetic field that protects us from the high levels of radiation from the sun. However, if there is a large eruption on the sun, magnetic particles are blasted outward bringing intense activity toward the earth and interacts with our magnetic field. It may interrupt radio transmissions and other power transmission systems. Also, don’t miss what’s in the night sky this week. All this and more on this week’s Sky Talk.[audio: st20110613.mp3]

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