The Environment

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YINYANG

The Sun –Energy for Life

The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System, the most important source of energy for life on Earth. The sun is a sphere of hot plasma, with internal convection currents that generate a magnetic field. Its diameter is 109 times that of Earth and its mass is 330,000 times bigger than earth’s. Three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen (73%), the rest is mostly helium (25%), with smaller quantities of oxygen, carbon, neon, and iron.

The sun’s energy output is created by hydrogen fusion that creates electromagnetic radiation and helium. The Sun has an absolute magnitude of +4.83, estimated to be brighter than about 85% of the stars in our galaxy, most of which are red dwarfs. The sun rotates and releases energy in all frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. The surface is turbulent with moving sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections. High-speed streams of solar wind are emitted from coronal holes. Both coronal-mass ejections and high-speed streams of solar wind carry plasma and an interplanetary magnetic field outward into the Solar System. The surface temperature of the photosphere is approximately 6,000 K, but surprisingly the temperature of the surrounding corona reaches 1,000,000–2,000,000 K.

Geomagnetic Storms

Despite the sun’s obvious turbulence, animals and plants on earth humans have depended on its relative stability. A recent and serious concern is that the sun can produce magnetic storms that would disable or destroy our electric grids and electronics. Most solar disturbances are reflected by our magnetic field or absorbed by the atmosphere. However, infrequent large events can be anticipated. Geomagnetic storms have caused solar energetic Particle (SEP) events, geomagnetically induced currents (GIC), ionospheric disturbances that cause radio and radar scintillation, disruption of navigation by magnetic compass and auroral displays at much lower latitudes than normal. In 1989, a geomagnetic storm energized ground induced currents that disrupted telegraph networks, electric power distribution and caused aurorae as far south as Texas. NASA operates continuous sun observations. Their understanding of solar flares is advancing. NASA described:” Solar flares are intense bursts of light from the sun. They are created when complicated magnetic fields suddenly and explosively rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light. During a December 2013 solar flare, three solar observatories captured the most comprehensive observations of an electromagnetic phenomenon called a current sheet. These eruptions on the sun eject radiation in all directions. The strongest solar flares can impact the ionized part of Earth’s atmosphere – the ionosphere – and interfere with our communications systems, like radio and GPS, and also disrupt onboard satellite electronics. Additionally, high-energy particles – including electrons, protons and heavier ions – are accelerated by solar flares.

 
  • Discussions of Environmental Science and Human Ecology were developed by Environmed Research Inc. Sechelt, B.C. Canada. Online Topics were developed from the 2017 book, The Environment. You will find detailed information about the sun, weather, soils, forests, oceans, atmosphere, air pollution, climate change, water resources, air quality, energy sources, and preserving habitats. The Environment is available from Alpha Online as a Printed book or as an eBook Edition for Download. The Author is Stephen J. Gislason MD.
  • Download The Environment as an eBook.

  • Also Read Air and Breathing.
    This book helps you understand air quality issues, normal breathing and the causes of breathing disorders.
     

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    Human Nature
    The Good Person
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    The Environment
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    Neuroscience Notes
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