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Dr. Pal Brekke, Friday, 5-22-15 May 23, 2015

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Dr. Pal Brekke, Friday, 5-22-15


Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm)

If you rate shows on live365.com, email me your rating reasons to help improve the showGuest:  Dr. Pal Brekke.  Topics:  The Northern Nights and solar activity.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed back Dr. Pal Brekke to discuss the Northern Lights, his new documentary video on the Northern Lights, and solar activity.  During our one hour show, we started with the Northern Lights and his video, “Northern Lights-a Magic Experience DVD.”  You can see the trailer to the video and order it at www.solarmax.no/Aurora/DVD.html.  Dr. Brekke introduced us to the Northern Lights, talked about Northern Lights tourism, and where the best locations are to see them and during what season.  Our guest was asked about the same thing happening in the southern hemisphere and he said yes, the Southern Lights or Polar Lights.  Not only did Dr. Brekke talk about his documentary video but we discussed some of the mythology associated with the Northern Lights, mostly on the fear side of things.  Dr. Brekke then talked about how the Northern Lights can move south, sometimes even being visible as far south as Florida.  He then explained why this happens re the solar wind putting pressure on Earth’s magnetosphere.  Our guest was asked about the various colors in the lights and he explained it using a neon tube for advertising purposes as an example.  B John asked a series of questions including one about telescopes and gravitational lenses.  We then switched over to talk about sunspots, CMEs and the 11 year solar cycle.  A listener asked Dr. Brekke to explain solar weather and space weather, then Dr. Brekke was asked if Earth’s climate is impacted by sunspots and if so, how.  Don’t miss this discussion.  Jack sent in a question asking how close one can get to the sun without feeling the intense temperatures or having hardware destroyed.  You will be surprised by what Dr. Brekke said in response to this question so don’t miss it.  Our next topic included short comments on existing and future solar missions planned from Europe and the U.S.  B John then asked about a possible repeat of the Carrington Effect and what that might mean for Earth based and orbiting electronic hardware.  Dr. Brekke had much to say about such an event and the potential damage that could happen were another Carrington Effect realized.  Near the end of our discussion, a listener asked our guest how best to take photos of the Northern Lights.  He suggested using an SLR type camera, not a point and shoot or cell phone camera, use a tripod, a low f stop and a very high ISS setting.  He then touted the Sony A7S camera.  Before our discussion ended, our guest was asked about the best tools for solar research over the past decades and most important findings.  Again, don’t miss his answer.  As the show was about to end, the final listener question was how scientists predict how much life is left for our sun. Wait till you hear how much hydrogen the sun burns every second!

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Dr. Pal Brekke through me.




1. J FIncannon - June 1, 2015

An interesting show.

Someone asked about “lesser known visible effects from the Sun than the Northern Lights”. This question reminded me of some other effects of auroras. People have reported smelling ozone and/or sulfur in conjunction with low level or high active aurora. It is conjectured that this is due to brush discharges of electricity, although this does not seem to fit current aurora models (>80 km up). Some measurements of low-level auroras place some of them as low as 1-4 miles up, however. At least one report of an electrostatic physiological sensation form auroras. But what has the most reports are sounds from the aurora. These are swishing, rushing, hissing, and crackling sounds. While it seems unlikely these are acoustic sounds propagated by the aurora (due to their height), it has been proven that people can “hear” radio frequency sounds so perhaps this is the mechanism. Scientists prefer to suggest it is psychological.

In addition there are the “cosmic ray visual phenomena” that the astronauts (Apollo and Mir and ISS) have reported seeing. Sometimes these cosmic rays can reach the ground (IBM found that computers experience one cosmic ray induced error per 256 megabytes of RAM per month). While cosmic rays are not from the Sun, they are affected by the solar wind.

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