Saturday, April 7, 2012

Know Your Sun

Image Credit: NASA/Jenny Mottar
NASA has just released five new videos called "Mysteries of the Sun". The videos describe the science of the sun and its effects on the solar system and Earth. Scientists study the sun not only to better understand the orb that influences life, but also to study how it sends solar material out into space, filling up the bubble that defines the farthest reaches of the solar system. The sun can also impact Earth's technology: solar storms can affect our communications satellites and cause surges in power lines. These movies cover the breadth of solar, heliospheric, and geospace science, a field known as heliophysics.

The five movies, available online at and on DVD, cover five areas of heliophysics: Space Weather, Solar Variability, the Heliosphere, Earth's magnetosphere, and Earth's upper atmosphere.

In addition to the movies, there is a guidebook with full-color images, diagrams, and charts that will make the science of heliophysics clear for all readers. The topics covered include the anatomy of the Sun, the solar cycle, solar storms, and solar variability, as well as the Sun’s effects on space weather and the Earth’s magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. One of the ways the Sun visibly influences events on Earth is the Aurora. The guide also provides an explanation of the connection between this phenomena and the Sun.

This series would be especially useful to teachers and students alike.  The visuals are excellent and the explanations are simple enough for everyone to enjoy.  One of the most important videos in my opinion is the one on Solar Variability.  This is spectacular when viewed on an Ipad.