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The Sun is cool again…

I’ll be writing a lot more about these new images of the Sun – taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory – later, when I get back from work, but in the meantime just have a drool over this…

Dear god, look at that… that’s our star, seen in breathtaking detail… SDO is going to revolutionise our understanding of the Sun, and throught that our understanding of our place in the solar system and the wider universe, I’m sure. It’s also going to lead to a surge in sales of those beautiful gold-coloured Coronado solar viewing telescopes. I’m going to hit the overtime this summer and save up for one myself, I’ve just about decided.. 🙂

More on these fantastic images later…

Return of the Dragons…

Had a very, very surreal moment going to work yesterday morning. After almost a week of looking up and seeing only beautiful, unbroken, cobalt-blue sky, thanks to the grounding of all aircraft because of the Icelandic volcano’s ash, I looked up and saw this…

It was VERY strange, seeing a vapour trail again! I felt like Tattoo from “Fantasy Island” – “Zee plane, zee plane!!”

But what was really strange was the way that other people around me stopped to look up and stare at the new arrival in our sky, just like I did. We all just stopped, and looked up, shocked by the return to our sky of one of those all too familiar white lines. And with no traffic passing, and just the one, solitary vapour trail in the sky, a thought crossed my mind…

Is that what it will be like when the oil runs out? Will the sight of a vapour trail in the sky be so rare, so odd, that it makes people stop in the street and look up and gawp at it?

A little bit of a shiver ran up my spine, I can tell you…