Chariots of Fire: The Sun and its influence on Earth – 28th November 2013

Our November meeting was addressed by Jack Carlyle, a PhD student at MSSL, who gave us an entertaining  and informative talk on how they observe the Sun.  With the help of some amazing animations, including one of a collapsing sun, the talk described our Sun’s place in the galaxy.  Also described in detail was the interaction between its electromagnetic field and plasma to create Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s).

Jack told us about the various Satellites that are used for observing the Sun and collecting data.  This included a very interesting mosaic from Nasa of all the different wavelengths they use to study different features of the Sun.

Jack ended the talk by explaining the various ways in which the 11-year Solar Cycle can affect us here on Earth, for example by interfering with our electrical grids.  The theory of how the Solar Cycle is driven was  illustrated with yet another brilliant animation showing the Sun’s magnetic field lines winding up, then snapping and winding down again.

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