…Back to Basics…
When studying energy, a good place to start is with the sun.
It is, after all, the source of our energy.
Just a rudimentary understanding of the sun can shed light on all the events related to energy on Earth.
The sun, for example, affects our weather. It has also left energy stored in the Earth from prior epochs.
Earlier cultures instinctively looked to the sun as the source of life. For them, it was obvious the sun was central to their existence.
We are now too sophisticated to think in such terms.
Yet, it’s obvious the sun plays a role in our existence. Shouldn’t any study of energy begin with a study of the sun?
Modern scientists started to examine the workings of the sun around the 17th century.
William Herschel was, perhaps, the first scientist to begin to unravel the sun’s complexity. His study of solar eclipses, the recognition of sun spot cycles and the discovery of infrared radiation from the sun, represented the first rigorous examination of the sun. And, its effects.
Herschel, for example, linked the price of wheat and other grains to sun spots. He conjectured that, “Periods of greater sunspot numbers somehow seemed to induce better seasons and more bountiful growth”.
We are about to enter the 25th solar cycle, and there is speculation as to whether it will result in a dearth of sunspots, or a resurgence in sunspot activity.
The period known as the little ice age was accompanied by a nearly century long dearth of sunspot activity, identified as the Maunder Minimum.
Recent understandings of how sunspots progress across the sun’s surface, show that sunspots emerge at higher latitudes early in the solar cycle, then move toward the sun’s equator as the cycle progresses. The movement is depicted as butterfly wings in the accompanying image.
There are also solar storms, where huge numbers of particles, referred to as the solar wind, are ejected from the sun’s surface into space. The solar wind, traveling past the Earth, interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating magnetic storms viewed as the northern lights.
These electromagnetic storms can affect satellites and endanger astronauts.
The strongest known solar storm was the Carrington event in 1859. A storm of this magnitude today could destroy power transformers and render the electric grid useless.
It’s obvious the sun powers the Earth.
Why is the media downplaying the sun when we examine climate change?
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