I have a new computer monitor. It stands sleek and tall, and is big enough that I can easily see the larger screen. Also, though the other one stood on a pile of books it was never quite high enough. This one is just right.
I am entranced, and that has led to a flurry of cleaning up and out, so that the rest of the desk fits more easily with the new screen. I am in a lovely clean-up and out mode.
Also, Will is building a new front deck on the house, taking off the old one that Steve built many years ago, and replacing and extending it. That has me in a flurry of excitement around the entry. All the plants have taken notice, and my favorite rocks are being considered for a new location. Even they seem to be standing a little higher in their slow molecular whirl.
I love the following article and imagining "lines of magnetism reaching toward the moon, capturing the solar wind as if they were sails, and then spilling the wind’s particles into Earth’s atmosphere." Wow!
I am filled with appreciation at all that swirls around the earth and me each day.
Behind the Aurora Borealis
When was the last time you thought about the Earth’s magnetic field? Or, for that matter, the solar wind? Perhaps now is a good time to do so.
Last year, NASA launched a constellation of five new satellites to investigate substorms — celestial events caused when the Earth’s magnetic field captures energy from the solar wind and then releases it. Data from the satellites and ground observations show that the Earth’s magnetic field lines — stretched well into space by the solar wind — suddenly snap back into place like giant rubber bands and shower the planet with solar particles. As astronomers have recently reported, that sudden release of energy is what causes the northern lights to flicker and dance.
If you have ever seen the northern lights, you know they cause a wonder that is itself a kind of question. We’re used to clouds sliding past on a windy day and the steady, predictable movements of celestial objects. But there is something startling about the aurora borealis, and not least its unpredictability. To see great sinuous sheets of light towering over the dark horizon is to feel that some fundamental force is being illuminated in the most diaphanous of ways. Until now, the cause of the aurora’s sudden shifts in mood was unclear. Now we know.
Perhaps it’s better simply to say that now astronomers know. What we get to do instead is imagine. The next time you see the northern lights, you’ll be able to imagine immense lines of magnetism reaching toward the moon, capturing the solar wind as if they were sails, and then spilling the wind’s particles into Earth’s atmosphere. What we are seeing, in a sense, is the last iridescence of a particle-breeze blowing outward from the Sun.