Monday, January 23, 2006

The answer, my friend...

Sarah found a door from the third floor of our home out on the street this morning, and I've just seen a slab of roof the size of a car hood go sailing off into Griffith Park. Sure, the pounding eighty mile an hour Santa Ana's whipping through LA's canyons today will ruin many expensive hair achievements, but let us remember that it could be worse. NASA's Solar Wind satellite has measured ion storms from the Sun whistling by Earth at speeds of 400-1000 kilometers per second. As a plasma, solar wind is highly electrically conductive. As the Sun rotates, the winds splay its dual (+/-) magnetic fields far out into the solar system in enormous, curved plasmatic "sheets". In fact, this rose-shaped heliospheric current sheet is the largest structure in the solar system. It is responsible for the great auroras, the geomagnetic storms that knock out power grids on Earth, and also explains why the tail of a comet always points away from the Sun. Solar wind is also said to contribute to the creation of new stars, which coincidentally, brings us full-circle back to Hollywood. So, the next time that casting agent offers to blow some stellar wind up your skirt, you tell them that the tail of a comet always points away from the wind source.


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