Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The eruption on the sun

And, speaking of eruptions, there was a massive eruption yesterday on the solar surface, which was captured in stunning detail by several spacecraft.

Known as a "prominence eruption," the event created a solar flare and a prominence, which -- as astronomer Dr. Phil Plait explains here -- can be defined as a release of pent-up magnetic energy (a solar flare) followed by a physical eruption of gas from the surface of the sun (a prominence).

More footage from the event can be found here, as well as a comparison of the size of the CME ("coronal mass ejection") to the size of the earth. Scientists believe that there is no danger to earth from the solar energy.

The conventional explanations for the origins of the sun itself have some problems of their own. In particular, the so-called "faint young sun paradox," first raised by astronomers Carl Sagan and George Mullen in 1972, describes the problems with the "standard solar model" for the origin of the sun, which argues that a star such as the sun would gradually brighten and become hotter during its early evolution until it reaches a steady state that it stays in for billions of years.

If the sun were 30% cooler and dimmer billions of years ago, then we should see evidence for that (we don't, as explained in the above link) and even more problematic, the earth would have been so cold that life could never have evolved under current models of Darwinian evolution. Also, Dr. Walt Brown has explained that once a young earth became covered with ice, it would reflect more of the sun's heat away from it (think of the fact that a black shirt or car interior becomes hotter on a sunny day than a light-colored shirt or car interior does), creating a kind of "runaway cooling" so that even when the sun warmed up to its present temperatures it would not be enough to melt the permanent ice age that would have formed during the cold period. Other problems with the current Darwinian explanation can be found here and here.

Obviously, the sun is incredibly important to life on earth. The recent solar eruption reminds us of its incredible power and energy, and should cause us to consider the explanations that we accept about the ancient past.