Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Science’ Category

Earth and Moon photo by Jupiter-Bound Space Probe

Earth and moon photo from space

This image of Earth (on the left) and the moon (on the right) was taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft on Aug. 26, 2011, when the spacecraft was about 6 million miles (9.66 million kilometers) away. It was taken by the spacecraft's onboard camera, JunoCam. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

– Carl Sagan – In a lecture in 1996, the same year as he passed away, Carl Sagan shared his thoughts on a similar picture taken by the 1990 spacecraft Voyager 1

Solar Flare Classification Chart

The solar flare released on August 4, 2011, rated at M9.3, is expected to reach earth today.

Solar flare classification ratings:

Solar flare classifications

Solar Storm to Produce Major Impact on Earth

Solar sunspots

Solar sunspots August 04, 2011

A solar storm on the sun has unleashed several Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) toward earth in the last few days.

Two CME’s were launched toward Earth on Aug 2 and 3rd according to an article in today’s with a third even larger solar flare launched today, August 4th

The impact on Earth is likely to be major” according to the report.  “Major impact” is a relative term.  Our normal solar sunspot-flare activity can produce an aurora borealis or northern lights as its common known.

A truly major impact would rival the event of 1859 when earth was hit by a solar superstorm known as the “Carrington Event“.   At that time, the Earth’s protective magnetic field was bent back by two CME’s immediately followed by one very large CME.

The CME impact induced magnetic impulses into then existing telegraph lines.  Telegraph lines burned out, paper caught fire at telegraph office equipment and telegraphs continued to operate even after their batteries were disconnected.

Scientist and government officials gathered in Washington, DC at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum 2011 on June 21, 2011 to discuss preparations for the next major solar maximum.

Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab say the combined cloud should reach Earth on August 5th at 13:55 UT plus or minus 7 hours.