Solstice And Appearance Of Sun In Different Wavelengths

This video, made by Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, Greenbelt exemplifies the appearance of the sun when viewed in different wavelengths.

These wavelengths, apparently can only be perceived by the telescope. So NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) converts these wavelengths into an image human eyes can perceive, followed by colorization of light into a rainbow of colors.

Furthermore today (December 21st), the winter solstice will approximately happen at 1711 hours UT in the Northern Hemisphere; it is the time when the Sun reaches the southernmost declination in its yearly journey. At the same time – the summer solstice will happen in the Southern Hemisphere.

Today, you will be experiencing the shortest day and longest night of the year.

[Video Credit: NASA ]

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Solar Flares Outburst [Image]

Solar Flares Outburst

After a relatively low solar flare activity since June 2013, the Sun unexpectedly erupts significant solar flares on October 27 and 28, 2013. The picture shows a bright flare outburst [An X1.0-class] from the Sun’s surface as seen exactly at NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The outburst releases harmful radiations which can physically affect humans but fortunately, this particular radiation cannot penetrate through Earth’s atmosphere. Also, some radiations that can reach the ground are strong enough to interfere radio signals on Earth.

[Image source: SDO | Solar Dynamics Observatory ]

Thermochromic Vanadium Oxide Coated Window Saves And Generates Energy

The never ceasing diligence to figure out ways of saving energy is what makes Chinese Scientists helped build a new smart window that may eventually reduce heating and cooling costs for apartments and hotels.

The new smart window can both save and generate energy unlike conventional smart windows and solar cells that can’t be combined into one device for energy saving and electricity generation.

 Thermochromic Vanadium Oxide Coated Window Saves And Generates Energy

A hybrid smart window device that can achieve energy savings and generation was designed based on a sandwiched composite film that was composed of dispersed VO2 particles and a polymer matrix. This device can temperature-dependently regulate solar heat and generate electricity using a solar cell positioned around the glass panel and powered by VO2 particle-scattered light, simultaneously remaining visible transparency. | Credit: J. Zhou, Z. Chen and Y.F. Gao

Y.F. Gao of the Chinese Academy of Science apprised that today’s smart windows’s scantiness in regulating heat and light from the sun results in loss of potential energy. Also, traditional windows cause heat to escape buildings in winter, which is quite an adverse situation and unwanted Sun’s rays in summer.

Scientists and engineers have long been battling to incorporate energy-regulating solar cells into window panes without effecting their transparency. Now, the issue has been resolved as the team led by Y.F. Gao discovered that Vanadium oxide (VO2) can be used as a transparent coating to regulate radiation from the Sun.

As told in the journal Nature - a VO2 film can respond to the environmental temperature to intelligently regulate infrared transmittance while maintaining visible transparency, and can be applied as a thermochromic smart window.

[Image Source:]


Without a Magnetic Field, Earth Would Have Been Doomed

Propagation of a solar wind stream

Propagation of a solar wind stream | Credit: ESA

Earth’s proper distance from the Sun, thick water-rich atmosphere, availability of abundant amount of oxygen and liquid surface water are the properties that make Earth, a life sustainable planet. These are what we have conned so far. But all these properties would have been destroyed or wiped out if the Earth have not had its magnetic shielding.

Scientists have recently discovered that many exoplanets that reside within the Goldilocks Zone, an area in which a planet is at the suitable distance from a star (like Earth), may be missing their magnetic shielding and as a result of it, they may be susceptible to Sun’s damaging radiations. Venus and March do not have magnetic shielding  Mars atmosphere are thought to have been eliminated by stellar winds after its magnetic field depleted and Venus are thought to have oceans once which got dried up as the greenhouse effect took hold.

“Water can get blasted away by stellar winds unless the planet has a strong magnetic field, Mars and Venus do not have magnetic fields, and it is thought that stellar winds stripped away the bulk of Mars’s atmosphere, while Venus’s was left with mostly carbon dioxide, making it toxic” says Jorge Zuluaga from the University of Antioquia in Colombia.

The magnetic field of the Earth extends from the inner core to where it meets solar wind, the continuous flow of charged particles from the sun that permeates the solar system. This magnetic field staves off most of these particles( Radiations and Winds) from entering the Earth’s atmosphere which otherwise would blast away our ozone layer.

Read more at ESA.