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Thursday, April 19, 2012

NASA Video Series: Mysteries of the Sun pt 1-5

In my opinion, this is the best space science multimedia to come out since ALMA started to release photos.  Each of the 5 episodes last about 5 minutes apiece.

It's slickly produced, with top notch narration alongside stunning visuals (both NASA animations and spacecraft photographs/videos.)  They delve into topics unknown by most, and explain them in a way that can be understood by astronomy fans slightly above layman.

Quickly access all 5 via YouTube Playlist, or watch each at whim, embedded below.

Mysteries of the Sun pt. 1/5 - Space Weather
In This Episode:
This video describes the direct and dramatic effects that eruptions on the sun can cause at Earth. Earth's magnetic fields change shape and strength in response to an eruption on the sun, and these changes in turn can damage space born technology and disrupt communications traveling through space. They also cause aurora.

Mysteries of the Sun pt. 2/5 - Solar Variability
In This Episode:
Rotations of the material deep inside the sun cause constantly shifting magnetic field lines. This variability drives the solar cycle, during which the north and south magnetic poles reverse position approximately every 11 years.

Mysteries of the Sun pt. 3/5 - The Heliosphere
In This Episode:
The solar wind streams out from the sun until it collides with material from the rest of space. This entire bubble defined by the solar wind is called the heliosphere and scientists study the very boundaries to better understand our place in space.

Mysteries of the Sun pt. 4/5 - Earth's Magnetosphere
In This Episode:
Earth is enveloped in a protective magnetic envelope called the magnetosphere. This can change shape in response to the sun's effects, causing various types of space weather at Earth.

Mysteries of the Sun pt. 5/5 - Earth's Upper Atmosphere
In This Episode:
Certain layers, high up in the atmosphere also respond to incoming energy from the sun. These layers contain charged particles and so naturally respond to an influx of magnetic energy. Understanding such variability is crucial since it can, in turn, degrade radio communication as well as satellite orbits.

Main Credit: NASA SCIENCE "for the benefit of all"
Sub credits:
Parts 1-4:
Part 5:

NASA's Page for Mysteries of the Sun

The icing on the cake:

NASA has a free (full color) book companion to the video series.
 The award winning 18 page, hi-res picture pdf  is free on their site.


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