I’ll just jump in here on the last two posts… First off, we could, in fact, make a detector that could withstand being brought to the surface of the sun (which for our purposes, I’ll consider to be the photosphere). The corona is at a few million Kelvins, but it’s a cool few million Kelvins… It’s so diffuse, that you could still lose heat to radiation faster than you’d gain it by conduction. As for the photosphere itself, it’s plenty dense enough to transmit heat, but it’s only at 5,770 Kelvins, the exact same temperature as something on Earth that’s heated to a yellowish color, and we can make materials that easily withstand white-hot temperatures. Of course, we don’t bother making such a detector, because as Engineer Don points out, we can get the same information from here. It turns out that information on exactly how different parts of the Sun are vibrating can tell us all sorts of fun stuff… Recently, for instance, a group of solar physicists were able to “image” an active region on the far side of the Sun, by measuring the vibrations which got transmitted over to the near side where we could see them. Even aside from the value of this as pure research, it could potentially double our warning time for solar storms, which can wreak havok with our wired world.
I agree with Chronos. The noise of the sun IS being studied and at the very least, it gives us a better scientific understanding of stars. Predicting “space weather” is a practical benefit. It also probably makes a good grant proposal for an astronomer :).
BTW, it’s good to see another engineer joining the SDMB. Unless you’re the train kind of engineer
You are right. I was thinking of the sun as a mostly unchanging (or very slowly changing) ball of fire but the solar “weather” info would be useful now and in the future for all sorts of reasons. It reminds me of the Larry Niven short story “Inconstant Moon”, where the Earth gets devastated by a really big solar flare, although cell phone and pager interference are more likely day to day consequences.
Thanks for the welcome, Phobos - I am an engineer, and not the train driving sort, although I can’t help thinking that would probably be fun for a while. I am Mechanical by training, but I deal a lot with the electrical stuff. What about you?
I know it is just a career and I shouldn’t tie my personal identity to it too strongly but I can’t help it. The problem solving methods sunk in and I use them excessivly, in every aspect of my life. Help me - I can’t stop being analytical!
Hey, at least you’ve analyzed the problem. Now you need to pose your hypothesis for successful resolution. It’s always good to see another engineer here, welcome aboard, Don. (And no, that’s not a train pun.)
off the topic, but I needed an excuse for my 200th post.
Did anyone see an aurora from the big solar flare last weekend?
E.D. - mechanical & environmental from college, but environmental by career.
Thanks for the welcome. Oddly enough, given your name and suggestion to propose a solution, beer is a good solution (as long as I am not at work). Enough and I can even enjoy things like Rambo flicks.