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06 November 2003

An angry star?

Am I the only person weird enough to see this connection? (Yeah, probably.) One story in the news is about the Voyager One which has just reached the outer edge of the solar system. (Opinions vary as to whether it has actually "crossed" a boundary or not, but in any case it is in the zone.) Another major story concerns the ever-increasing intensity of a phenomenal bout of solar storms. These are surpassing records for intensity every day. As one scientist said: "This is an R-5 extreme event; they dont get much bigger than this."
Well, look, you have an object crossing a boundary of the Sun's own system - something that has not happened before. It's possible that natural space junk of some kind "passes through" the solar system, but after reading this. . .
"One team reported Wednesday that the craft apparently crossed a turbulent boundary near the edge of the solar system, where supersonic "winds" of charged particles from the sun collide with matter from interstellar space. No spacecraft has ever come close to the boundary, known as the termination shock" . . . I sort of think that an object would have to be propelled somehow to get through the boundary. And then at the same time, you have activity on the surface of the sun, that, while admittedly cyclical, is exceeding all previously recorded activity.
So, it makes me think that Sol is angry and throwing a little hissie fit. Of course, it (or should I say he?) probably doesn't know that Voyager is anything to do with Earth and indeed the solar storms shower everything in their path with the same magnetic bombardment; as the sunspots where these originate "turn away" from Earth, we will be spared their effects for a couple of weeks. But it could be back with the rotation of the sun, and scientists don't know how long it will last or how intense it can get.
It's just a thought.

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