Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The sun, sunworshippers and holidays to Spain

It's on a day like today when the sky was a perfect blue and the sun is shining brightly for the first time since who knows when that the idea of getting a westbound Piccadilly line to Heathrow and getting flights to Lanzarote or numerous other sunny climates really starts to appeal.

The first glimpse of spring sunshine at university was always met with a plethora of barbeques, sunglasses and flipflops, which being Wales usually meant a sudden shower drenching all and sundry.

The history of humanity has be governed by the sun – from the sunworshippers who welcomed each day the great sun god returned with glee to us modern 21st century dwellers who, while spending the entire winter in warm caves lit by electric bulbs and surrounded by gadgets galore, dream of the sun, beaches and gently lapping waves to pass the darkness.

Even in such an advanced age nothing lifts the human spirit more than the sight of pure, undistorted sunlight entering windows, reflecting on glass and other nice descriptions of things the sun does to the Earth.

I’ve always liked the idea that the sun is 93 million miles away, so it takes seven minutes for its light to reach us. This means the sun we see is actually the sun of seven minutes ago and if the sun exploded we wouldn’t know about it until seven minutes after the event (unless this event spewed cosmic sun vomit at us in fewer than seven minutes, which it may well might).

In fact the sun is about to get a whole lot more interesting for us humans as two satellites we fired into space way back in 2006 to view both sides of the sun in its entirety have reached their positions and are now sending back full images of the sun for the first time in humanities history. Not bad for a bunch of six foot bipeds.

Something to think about next time you jet off, anyway.


2 comments:

John Medd said...

Have you been following the goss on Planet X? It's hiding behind the Sun and will wipe us all out next year. Or maybe not.

Dan Worth said...

Hmm, interesting...!

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