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Solar Cycle And Dancing Lights- Aurora 2013

As described in my earlier posts, our local star Sun, undergoes a natural cycle of roughly 11 years and  it’s peak activity it is manifested by increase in number of solar spots, coronal mass ejections (CME), enormous magnetic waves.  CMEs when they travel to earth are then directed by earth’s magnetic fields towards earths poles which leads to display of beautiful Aurora or dancing lights. Auroras are result of the interaction between ions and electrons from the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field and upper atmosphere. During Coronal Mass Ejections from the sun, high energetic ions are bombarded towards the earth. These ions migrate towards poles due to Earth’s magnetic fields, that’s why this phenomenon is seen mostly at Northern and Southern poles of the earth. These high energetic ions interact with Oxygen and Nitrogen of the upper atmosphere and excite them to higher energy levels. When the atoms fallback to ground state it emits light typical to particular atom. Oxygen emits at a wavelength of 558 nm (green) and at 630 nm (red ). Emission at 558 nm is more prominent and that’s how Aurora gets it’s greenish color. A slight tinge of red color can also be seen at times.  Auroras in other colors have also been seen such as blue and purple but green ones are most prominent. Here is a beautiful timelapse video captured by Christian Mülhauser in Norway during Feb 2013.

2013 is supposed to be solar maxima but unfortunately, our Sun has been low in activity and has defied many predictions, probably the weakest in more than a century. Solar activity is also measured by the number of solar spots observed and this time maximum solar spots observed has been 67 (observed in Feb 2011) and since then it has been low and it appears that it will slowing down now onwards. As compared to this cycle, more than ~150 sun spots (2003) were observed in last solar cycle.

A lull in solar activity means reduced Aurora display on earth which is sad. Although last week there was a short burst of activity which resulted on some Aurora display and was captured by Astro Photographer Göran Strand in Sweden on Oct 2nd, 2013. Enjoy the videos by  Göran Strand and Christian Mülhauser and hopefully solar activity picks up!

Soruces:  http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml

http://www.astrofotografen.se/

https://vimeo.com/62534688

Leave a Comment October 8, 2013

Weekend Video: Ride of Passage

In my last post, I talked about world’s smallest and  cutest chameleon. Now it’s time to watch some cute animated chameleon in this issue of weekend video.

Story: Toki’s tribe expects him to bring home the head of the biggest animal possible. In return, he will receive honor and respect. However, this rite of passage does not turn out as planned. With the help of a colorful new friend, he achieves something much bigger.

Video credit: Christian Bøving-Andersen, Casper Michelsen, Eva Lee Wallberg, Tina Lykke Thorn, Søren B. Nørbæk, Allan Lønskov, Jakob Kousholt, David F. Otzen

Leave a Comment February 18, 2012

Stylish Java Sees Dark Side of Doritos

I am working on a paper but apparently my idea machine is on a sleeping mode, time to get a coffee. Meanwhile you guys can enjoy these beautiful art works by Brock Davis. His creative artwork combined with a hot coffee (sans stylish jacket) might do the trick and help me in finishing the paper. I wish I could get ideas like Brock- by looking at simple things like coffee jacket and broccoli and Doritos and convert it to something beautifully amazing. Last picture is a recreation of album cover of Pink Flyod’s Dark side of moon. He used bags from different flavors of Doritos and cut it to get all the different colors and created “Dark side of Doritos”. Amazing!

Image credit: Brock Davis | Visit Brock’s Tumblr blog

Leave a Comment February 11, 2012

Science is Scamming and Confusing America, How?

Last night’s The Daily Show was awesome as always. Take a look at the video and here is a word of caution: don’t let any scientist con you into believing in evolution or global warming or vaccination or any other “science junk”.

Leave a Comment October 27, 2011

Do You Know What Nano Means?

If not, then this video might help you in understanding what nano is. Beautiful video by Daniel Geis.

Leave a Comment October 27, 2011

R.I.P. Mr. Jobs


Rest in Peace Steve Jobs and thanks for bringing together innovation, design and aesthetics. There might have been other innovators who must have thought of laptops, tablets and phones without any keys and buttons, but you thought about it, designed it and brought those ideas to life.

Comicstrip credit: Abstrusegoose.com

Leave a Comment October 27, 2011

Picture of The Day: Simultaneous Sunset And Moonset

This incredible image of simultaneous sunset and moonset was taken by astronaut Ron Garan on Jul 31 from the International Space Station. ISS orbits around the earth every 90 minutes so the astronauts aboard ISS get a chance to witness this amazing event about 16 times a day!! Ron also took picture of one of the 16 sunrises, here it is:

Image Credit: NASA

Leave a Comment September 5, 2011

Science Is Supercool

Comic strip credit: Abstruse Goose A Web comic | Used under Creative Commons License

Leave a Comment September 5, 2011

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