Could the sun be the best astronomical definition of “God”? Understand
If you are alive today, you should thank the Sun for creating the conditions for the creation and maintenance of life on Earth. Based on this principle, would this be the best astronomical definition of “God”?
Our mother star is responsible for rivers and oceans, atmosphere, winds, auroras, plants, in short… almost everything that exists on our planet.
Furthermore, much of the energy we use to power our technology comes directly or indirectly from the Sun.
It is also responsible for natural phenomena such as hurricanes; diseases such as skin cancer; Some inconveniences, such as interruptions in the Internet and satellite TV signal.
All this proves that, contrary to what it seems, the Sun is not only this little yellow ball that brings us light and heat. In space, our massive host star is constantly active—a major driver of space weather changes.
NOAA Scientist Talks Solar Physics
Last Friday (13), Olhar Espacial spoke with scientist Alessandra Abe Pacini about solar physics and space weather, focusing on the latest solar activities and their implications for Earth.
BA and BSc in Physics from Mackenzie University (SP), MSc and PhD in Space Geophysics from INPE (SJC) and PhD in Physics from the University of Oulu, Finland, Alessandra focuses on heliophysics. , solar physics and space weather.
He is currently a scientist with the Space Weather Group of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Colorado, USA.
She is also the author of Girls InSpace, a collection of space science books for children, and leads related science education and outreach projects.
He is the creator and mentor of the YouTube channel O que Diz a Física – Ale Pacini. Space4Women, from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. He is also the president of the Special Commission on Gender Equality of the Brazilian Space Geophysical Society and the coordinator of the Plasma Physics Commission of the Brazilian Physical Society.
The Sun God: Religion and Science
According to the Ciência Viva website, several important civilizations elevated the Sun to the level of maximum divinity:
- The Egyptians worshiped Ra, the Sun of Zenith, the young rising Sun accompanied by Kbeper, the old golden sun of Atum, and Horus, the eye of the Sun;
- Ancient Japan, empire of the rising sun, worshiped Amateursu;
- In the New Continent, Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca were the sun gods of the mighty Aztec Empire;
- Inti, the Sun god, ruled over the solar empire of the Incas on the Pacific coast of Andean America;
- Among the Amazonian peoples, Apinajes worshiped Mbud-ti (Sun) and Mbuduruvi-Re (Moon).
“Many peoples worship and respect the Sun as a god. They saw him as the source of life, the source of everything. And they are not wrong, “Alessandra answered the question of the presenter Marcelo Zurita on this topic. “From an astronomical point of view, even how the planet was formed and the fact that we are in the Habitable Zone (the Earth is close to the Sun, allowing liquid water to pass through). We protect ourselves from the sun, our bodies interact with it by absorbing radiation. It warms us, warms the atmosphere, gives life to plants that carry out photosynthesis… And we belong to this cycle, which is connected to the star.”
There is even a field of astronomy that deals with this called archaeoastronomy. Equinoxes, solstices, heliacs, eclipses, transits of comets, etc. with ancient man. is the study of the relationship between important celestial phenomena.
“This branch of astronomy tries to interpret these people’s visions of space through, for example, records left in caves,” the scientist explains. “Records of how they saw these phenomena they observed in the sky”.
According to him, observing the sky is as old as man. “The moment people became aware of themselves as human beings, when they began to experience civilization, they began to observe the sky and seek this connection with it. Some people seek this connection in a more esoteric or religious way. “There are people in science who find this connection through space exploration, like me.”
Alessandra and Zurita also talked about solar eclipses, noting that on October 14th this year we will have an annular eclipse called the Ring of Names. (See all predicted eclipses for 2023 here).
This will be the largest solar eclipse of the year, and its coverage will fall entirely over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. As a result, a large area of the Americas will be seen in stages of both total and partial elimination – and this is the case in Brazil.
Although Natal (RN) and João Pessoa (PB) will be the two Brazilian capitals that will witness the greatest extent of the eclipse, it will be partial in the Midwest, Southeast and South regions.
According to Alessandra, even the minimal amount of solar disk visible during a “ring of fire” eclipse is enough to allow ambient lighting and also cause eye damage when viewed directly. “Thus, you can’t directly look at eclipses without proper special protection. »
The next total solar eclipse will occur in 2024 and will be visible in North America. “Anyone who experiences a total eclipse is a bit more interested in chasing eclipses because it’s such an impressive event,” Alessandra said. “When you’re in a total eclipse, you feel the temperature drop, you see the birds return to the trees, the crickets begin to sing, because nature realizes that it’s nighttime.”
NOAA satellites observe the Earth and the Sun
Alessandra also spoke about CIRES/NOAA, the US, and the agency’s work on the GOES-R project satellites with both Earth- and Sun-pointing cameras. “The next generation of GOES satellites (NASA/NOAA mission) brought an imager, which is a big difference from the previous equipment.”
According to the scientist, the data is freely available, which means that anyone can download it for viewing.
Another topic covered in the program was solar flares. Zurita asked the guest to talk about the classes of this phenomenon.
First, Alessandra clarified that this is a natural thing, it happens normally, and scientists study to understand the dynamics of the process and try to predict the events.
“The Sun has its own dynamo, and over time it creates regions of concentrated magnetic energy that we see as sunspots. These spots have been monitored and calculated for a long time. “Counting the number of sunspots gives an idea of the Sun’s activity, and the more active it is, the more regions in the corona are exploding. »
These explosions emit streams of ultraviolet solar radiation focused on them. It also has a higher concentration of X-rays, which are very energetic light. Then, based on these observations, NOAA scientists classified the explosions according to their power in a letter scheme – A, B, C, M and X – based on the intensity of the X-rays. 10 times the intensity of the latter.
Alessandra pointed out that the Sun’s current solar cycle (25) is rising, so as solar activity is intense and increasing, we will increasingly see reports of the strongest type of flare.
He said that the Sun is more active than expected. According to Alessandra, over the past month, about 60 spots were expected and more than 100 were observed, the results are far from beautiful displays of polar bodies in the Earth’s polar regions.
Depending on the intensity of the emitted energy flows, there are security risks for satellites in orbit, and power outages of radio, GPS and Internet signals.
For more on solar physics and Astro Rei’s role in space weather, check out this super interesting issue of Olhar Espacial.
In the presentation of Marcelo Zurita, president of Associação Paraibana de Astronomia — APA; Member of SAB — Brazilian Astronomical Society; Technical director of BRAMON – Brazilian Meteor Observation Network – and regional coordinator of Asteroid Day Brazil (northeast), the program is broadcast live every Friday at 21:00 through the official vehicle channels on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram. TwitterLinkedIn and TikTok, in addition to Markket subscription channel (611-Vivo, 56-Sky and 692-ClaroTV).
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