Tech Thursday: Our Sun

I initially had wanted to speak to the iPhone 4.0 "slip-up" from earlier this week, but feel that it has been discussed ad nauseam, so I'll just sneak it into this post about the crazy new telescope NASA has built to study the Sun and its effects on Earth and the near-Earth atmosphere. Yesterday, NASA released its first video of the Sun in action: a short 10-second clip of a recent Solar Prominence - pretty neat stuff, if you ask me (which, I'm afraid, you are by reading this post).

My favorite quote from the Wired article, however, has to do with the above picture:
Reds map to relatively cool temperatures of around 100,000 degrees Fahrenheit (60,000 kelvins), while blues and greens represent hotter regions of more than 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1,000,000 kelvins).
I just love the use of "relatively", cause, you know, without that, I'm sure we all would have thought the author was crazy.

My somewhat related (but, being asked more out of curiosity) question is this: do you think this is a good use of NASA (and, correspondingly, tax payer) money?


  1. What are my options for how we use NASA money? Can we make the Star Trek Enterprise a real thing?

    Love this info on the sun, another great find Scott. Also, Solar Prominence would be a nice band name.

  2. PS - I love when professional media outlets screw up grammar. Note to Wired: it's = a contraction of it is, its = possessive for it

  3. Your options are as varied as you'd want them to be; you just have to have realistic costs associated with each path, and then explain why you think such a project would be worth the cost.

    I, personally, would love to see us back on the moon again (with live tweets!) just to shut up all the conspiracy theorists out there.

    Also, Solar Prominence as a band name is an awesome idea - run with it Royce, run with it!

  4. I'd say that NASA should be working with theoretical physicists on space travel and living on the moon or another planet.

    While we may be many centuries or millenia from a colony on the moon or Mars, we have to get started somewhere.

    My science (fiction) thoughts are that NASA should be working on space travel other than rockets, which in terms of space are relatively slow, require a lot of mass in fuel and aren't that practical for traveling to another planet.

    I think there's a possibility of quantum physics providing such a step. I believe (and now I'm getting really science fictiony here...because I wasn't all the way yet)that Einstein's premise is that it is impossible to accelerate past the speed of light, but it may be possible to travel from one spot to another faster than light. (Think of a wormhole or electron jumping around in an electron cloud.) The movie Event Horizon and the book Timeline are science fiction works that offer support to ideas like this without being completely fictional.