The Sun: Myth & Mystery
The Sun is a star, just like those we can see in the night sky. As stars go, it is an “average” star. Because it is so much closer to us than the other stars, it appears much brighter. During the daytime, the Sun’s light covers up the light from the other stars. Earth is almost 150 million kilometres from the Sun. Light from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach us. The nearest star to our solar system is Alpha Centauri. Light from this star takes over four years to reach us.
The Sun is by far the largest object in the solar system. It contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System.
The Sun is, at present, about 75% hydrogen and 25% Helium by mass (92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium by number of atoms); everything else (“metals”) amounts to only 0.1%. This changes slowly over time as the Sun converts hydrogen to helium in its core.
The surface of the Sun, called the photosphere, is at a temperature of about 5800 K. Sunspots are “cool” regions, only 3800 K (they look dark only by comparison with the surrounding regions). Sunspots can be very large, as much as 50,000 km in diameter. Sunspots are caused by complicated and not very well understood interactions with the Sun’s magnetic field. sunspot activity is on the increase. Solar flare activity is something we must watch. We must be prepared for the destructive explosions of sunspots expected to peak between now and April 2000.
Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York have announced a link between the 11 year solar cycle of the sun and Earth’s climate. Their research showed that the increased activity during a solar maximum increases the amount of ozone in Earth’s atmosphere. The additional ozone warms the atmosphere and changes the direction and speed of winds which affects climate around the planet. The study also confirms that the extra radiation from the sun is not enough to account for global warming.
The current solar maximum, Cycle 23, is expected to be one of the strongest on record. Intense activity is expected to begin by July and peak early next year. Geomagnetic storms during Cycle 22, between 1989 and 1991, disrupted communication satellites and power stations across North America and Canada.
August 31, 1999: Sun issued a reminder to anyone who might have forgotten that solar maximum is right around the corner. On Saturday, August 28 at 18:05 UTC, a major solar flare erupted from a complex sunspot group crossing the sun’s southern hemisphere. The x-ray flux from the explosion registered more than 10-4 Watts per square meter on the GOES 8 satellite, placing the flare in the most powerful “X” category. A somewhat weaker “M” class flare erupted from the same sunspot group on Friday, August 27.Solar flares.
Solar flares are the largest explosions in the solar system. They occur when magnetic energy builds up within the solar atmosphere. Each flare releases energy equivalent to millions of 100 megaton hydron bombs, as it violently erupts from the sun’s most outer atmosphere, the corona. It is thought and I believe then when solar flares and solar winds occur on the sun it effect on the earth and as the solar flares increase it effects not just for the earth but the human consciousness as well .. a lot of very important events have happened around the world when solar flare activity has been high.
The Sun is personified in many mythologies:
Ra was the God of the Sun of Egypt. He sailed across the heavens in a boat called the ‘Barque of Millions of Years’. He was joined on this daily journey by a crew of many gods. The boat would sail through the twelve provinces, representing the twelve hours of daylight. At the end of each day, Ra was thought to die and sailed on his night voyage through the Underworld, leaving the Moon to light the world above. The next dawn, he was born again.
Apollo was the Roman god of the sun. Each day he drove his chariot of fiery horses across the sky to give light to the world. He was also the god of healing, so sick people prayed to him. His most famous temple was at Delphi. There, his priestess would prophesy the future. But she wasn’t easy to understand. One day, a great king asked the priestess if he should invade a nearby kingdom. She said, “If you do this, a great kingdom will be destroyed.” He thought that she meant he would be successful, and so started the war. He lost disastrously. It was his own kingdom that got destroyed!
Helios (Sol) was the Greek god of the sun and was also called the sun. His sisters were Eos who was called the dawn and Selene which was called the moon. The Greeks believed that Helios and Eos drove a four-horse chariot across the sky every day, and at night a huge golden cup took him back to his palace in the East. They also called upon him to witness their oaths.
Lugh – Celtic Lord of Every Skill. He was the patron of Lugodunum (Lyons) in Gaul. He and his nature goddess consort (named variously as Tailltu, Machta, or Gaulish Rosmerta) were worshipped during the 30-day Lugnasad midsummer feast in Ireland as well. Sexual magic during this festival ensured ripening of the crops and good harvest. Called Lamfhada or “of the long arm” in Gaelic because of his great spear and sling, his animal totems were the raven and the lynx. Lugh mirrors Hindu Kartikeya, the spiritual warrior, and Roman Mercury, the swift messenger, and his exploits are recounted in the Celtic epic Tuatha De Danann. Whatever your belief system is or religion the sun has paid a part in it and will play more of a part to the closer we get to the year 2012.