The Sun Is Angry

Don’t forget to duck.

Huge blasts of sun’s plasma hurtling toward Earth

A huge mass of magnetically charged material ejected from the sun is racing across space toward our planet, where it is expected to arrive on Tuesday. When it strikes the Earth’s magnetic field, it could produce spectacular auroras.

A blast of violent space weather could hit the Earth tomorrow following two massive explosions on the Sun. NASA astronomers witnessed a huge flare above a giant sunspot the size of our planet and linked to an even larger eruption across the surface of Sun.

Experts estimate a wave of supercharged gas called plasma will reach us this Tuesday when it will buffet the natural magnetic shield protecting Earth. It could trigger spectacular displays of the aurora or northern and southern lights.

The solar outbursts on Sunday August 1 were recorded by several satellites including NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory which watched its shockwave rippling outwards. The flare over the sunspot was swiftly followed by an eruption 250,000 miles (400,000 km) away in a feature called a filament.

UK solar expert Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, in Surrey, followed the flare-ups using Japan’s orbiting Hinode telescope.

She said last night: “What wonderful fireworks the Sun has been producing! This was a very rare event – not one, but two almost simultaneous eruptions from different locations on the sun were launched toward the Earth.

“These eruptions occur when immense magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere lose their stability and can no longer be held down by the sun’s huge gravitational pull. Just like a coiled spring suddenly being released, they erupt into space.

“It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun’s visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption. Both eruptions could be Earth-directed but may be travelling at different speeds. This means we have a very good chance of seeing major and prolonged effects, such as the northern lights at low latitudes.”

. . .

Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption, like the Carrington Event witnessed from Surrey in 1859, could destroy satellites and wreck power and around the globe if it happened today.

Such an event would be the biggest disaster ever to hit mankind, preventing the production of essential supplies including food, water and medicines. Other eruptions have been observed directed towards us but thankfully less severe.

See also:
Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth
Here comes the sun storm
Large solar storm headed our way
Solar plasma aurora storm to hit Earth tomorrow!
Solar Tsunami to Strike Earth Tonight
Solar light show expected tonight
Northern lights may shine in local skies
Solar blast may fire up Northern Lights
Northern lights could be visible from UK as Sun’s ‘solar tsunami’ sweeps towards Earth
Sun storms may bring northern lights farther south
Coronal Mass Ejection on Sun, Effects Can Be Seen in New England

So, enjoy the light show if it’s visible where you’re at and let’s hope we don’t suffer any fried satellites.

/eventually, the sun will destroy life on Earth and the Earth itself, but apparently not today

Chinese Science Sucks . . . Light!

Researchers create portable black hole

Physicists have created a black hole for light that can fit in your coat pocket. Their device, which measures just 22 centimetres across, can suck up microwave light and convert it into heat.

The hole is the latest clever device to use ‘metamaterials’, specially engineered materials that can bend light in unusual ways. Previously, scientists have used such metamaterials to build ‘invisibility carpets’ and super-clear lenses. This latest black hole was made by Qiang Chen and Tie Jun Cui of Southeast University in Nanjing, China, and is described in a paper on the preprint server ArXiv1.

Black holes are normally too massive to be carried around. The black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, for example, has a mass around 3.6 million times that of the Sun and warps the very space around it. Light that travels too close to it can become trapped forever.

The new meta-black hole also bends light, but in a very different way. Rather than relying on gravity, the black hole uses a series of metallic ‘resonators’ arranged in 60 concentric circles. The resonators affect the electric and magnetic fields of a passing light wave, causing it to bend towards the centre of the hole. It spirals closer and closer to the black hole’s ‘core’ until it reaches the 20 innermost layers. Those layers are made of another set of resonators that convert light into heat. The result: what goes in cannot come out. “The light into the core is totally absorbed,” Cui says.

“I am very impressed,” says John Pendry, a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London. Pendry says that the black hole is yet the latest example of the many strange devices that can be built with metamaterials. But, he adds, it is not a perfect black-hole analogy. The enormous gravity of real black holes causes them to emit an eerie quantum glow, known as Hawking radiation. “The optical device reported in this paper has no internal source of energy and therefore cannot emit Hawking radiation,” Pendry says.

Nevertheless, Cui says that the hole could prove useful. By the end of the year his team hopes to have a version of the device that will suck up light of optical frequencies. If it works, it could be used in applications such as solar cells.

See also:
Chinese Scientists Create First-Ever Artificial Black Hole
Artificial Black Hole Created in Chinese Lab
Chinese Scientists Build Working Black Hole
Scientists Make Desktop Black Hole
Artificial Black Hole Created in Chinese Lab
Table-Top Black Hole Can Absorb Light
Chinese Lab Creates Artificial Black Hole
How to Create a Black Hole on a Lab Bench
Metamaterial Revolution: The New Science of Making Anything Disappear

/is that a black hole in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?