Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there only existed four basic elements: earth, water, air and fire. The ancient Greeks believed that these four elements constituted everything – in varying amounts and in varying proportions.
The Sun – you might think we’d know quite a lot about this thing already, given how important it is for the sustaining of life on Earth, and well… given just how noticeable it is in the sky. All throughout history, the Sun has represented a cornerstone in mythology, worshipped (and rightly so) by many civilisations. Over the past two weeks we’ve started to scrape away at the surface of what there is to understand about the Sun, but the simple truth is that, despite our everlasting efforts, there’s so much more yet to uncover about this mystical being.
In our last post we took a glimpse at auroras in the making – a spectacular light show staged not by a Roman deity sadly, but by the solar wind. Today we will see where this solar wind originates from (the Sun, unsurprisingly) and see how the draughts of the stars yield the lights of the skies.
Last week we walked through the gallery of the universe to observe the majestic broad strokes found strewn across the canvas of interstellar space. This week we’re going to wander slightly closer to home, and take a look at the beautiful natural lights put on for us by our very own skies. However, they do get a little bit of help from a certain life-giving star, not to mention a lot of physics…
Nebulae are one of the most beautiful wonders in the sky, a blend of colours and hues in a painting drawn upon the canvas of interstellar space. As Sherlock Holmes famously once said, ‘You see, but you do not observe.’ Today I will teach you how to not just see nebulae, but how to observe them. There will be many pretty pictures to follow, many of which will be familiar to avid stargazers.