Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Sunshine Time

While millions of dollars of research grants have been spent studying plant food, the Japanese have been trying to learn more about the primary heat source in the solar system. Hinode, a space telescope launched in 2006, is changing our understanding of the sun. H/T The Strata Sphere

Dazzling new images reveal the 'impossible' on the Sun: "Everything we thought we knew about X-ray images of the Sun is now out of date," says Leon Golub from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. "We've seen many new and unexpected things. For that reason alone, the mission is already a success."

It appears that turbulent magnetic fields serve to loop heat back into the corona, the outermost layer of the sun, creating a surface that is “far hotter” than the inner core. The chaotic frenzy covering the star is nothing like the relatively stable magnetic fields of our home planet which occasionally shift and drift. Oh by the way, NASA is also suggesting the sun may have something to do with the climate.

Back in Wisconsin, the astute minds of the Fort Atkinson City Council unanimously resolve to save the planet by switching to bio-diesel and partially heating buildings. Does anyone in Fort Atkinson get the irony of “saving” nature by burning plants rather than rocks? Riddle me this City Hall: Why did the deforestation of Jefferson County stop with the invention of the internal combustion engine? Bonus Points: Explain the conservation of matter and energy without saying sustainability.