The Sun on Earth
best of our knowledge, our Sun is the only star proven to grow vegetables.
Auroras, rainbows, sun dogs, green flashes, sun pillars,
sunfish, sunflowers, glorious
sunrises -- the Earth is full of wonderous
references to the Sun, each inspired by the life-giving force
from our special star.
The Sun-Earth Connection
Sunrise, Sunset |
Global Warming |
Watering with Seawater |
The Sun in Nature
Named after the Roman goddess of dawn, auroras shimmer and glow in
the polar regions of the Earth.
What are they and how are they caused?
What do they have to do with the Sun?
How are the auroras at the North and South poles related?
When and why do auroras sometimes frequent lower latitudes?
Can we predict auroras?
What do auroras look like from spacecraft?
Do other planets have auroras?
What does it feel like to experience an aurora for the first time?
Read Sten Odenwald's
The Cosmologist and the Aurora.
To explore auroras, start with these:
We all know that rainbows are caused by light refracting through raindrops. But
do you really understand what that means? Do 2 people standing a ways
apart see the same rainbow? Are the colors of a rainbow in any particular order?
Why do we sometimes see 2 rainbows, a second fainter one "echoing" the first?
How can you make your own rainbow? Are there other ways to break up light into
its colors? What does a rainbow look like from a high-flying aircraft (hint:
it's not an arch anymore)?
These sites won't tell you all the answers, but here are some places to
Not until 1959 did Parliament revoke a 300-year-old
law in Britain that made it a crime punishable by burning at the stake to
forecast the weather.
all experienced that special moment when our Sun, yellow-orange in the haze,
finally sets and leaves our world. But, do you know why the sunset is red, or
why the Sun appears "squashed" as it sets? Have you ever seen the green flash
just after sunset? Or a sun pillar just before dawn?
The Sun and our atmosphere are a magical and mischievous team, often trying
to trick us with unlikely appearances. Explore more about white sunsets, mirages,
a blue sun at noon, silver linings, sun halos, Glories, and why our sky is
blue (and Mars' isn't).
(Image Credit: National Park Service. NOAA Photo Library.)
More on Atmospheric
Image Credit: Linda Brown
warming -- a gradual increase in planet-wide temperatures -- is now well documented
and accepted by scientists as fact. A panel convened by the U.S National Research
Council, the nation's premier science policy body, in June 2006 voiced a "high
level of confidence" that Earth is the hottest it has been in at least
400 years, and possibly even the last 2,000 years. This warming is largely
attributed to the increase of greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide and
methane) in the Earth's upper atmosphere caused by human burning of fossil
fuels, industrial, farming, and deforestation activities.
Some uncertainty remains about the role of natural variations in causing
climate change. Solar variability certainly plays a minor role, but it looks
like only a quarter of the recent variations can be attributed to the Sun.
Want to learn more? Visit
our global warming page.
Image Credit: Environmental Protection Agency. NOAA