The above image was taken just as our Sun belched a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) in our direction on sunday night. This blob of charged particles are already beginning to interact with the earth’s magentosphere, and will likely result in some spectacular aurorae for the northern latitudes as the brunt of it arrives tonight and tomorrow morning. This is the first large scale activity the Sun has seen in several years, as it has been at the low-point of its 11-year cycle of sunspot activity. Events like this will slowly become more common over the next 3 or 4 years as the sun reaches its next peak in activity around 2012-2013. This is NOT any kind of major disaster, though it may cause a few glitches with satellites, as any CME event is prone to do. Unfortunately TN is way too far south to see any of the auroral activity, but if you’re in the northern US you might be able to see it. It is possible for aurorae to be seen this far south, but it’s very rare and requires a very powerful solar storm, such as the one from April 2001 (the last solar maximum) which made aurorae visible as far south as Texas. Such an event is possible as we head toward this next solar maximum, but I wouldn’t count on it. This upcoming maximum is expected to be about half as intense as the last one. (Via and Universe Today.

Here’s a video of the current CME when it first erupted sunday night.


I’d forgotten that the Blendtec blender existed. Of course they had to do a demo with an iPad. Sure enough, it blends….

Be sure to check all the other blendable things on their channel.

In case you’ve been under a rock, the Eyjafjajokull (don’t even begin to try to pronounce that…) volcano has been erupting in Iceland for well over a week now. Coincidentally, the sun decided to send a rather strong geomagnetic storm our way last weekend. We all know what happens during geomagnetic storms- aurora borealis. Since Iceland is at such a high latitude, it almost always gets to see these aurorae, and when you combine that with a rather docile volcanic eruption, you get photographers hanging out there and taking eye-gasm photographs like this: (Via Live Science)

Photo by Albert Jakobsson

I haven’t posted any real mind-benders on here in quite a while, so here goes:

An Indiana University theoretical physicists is proposing that our universe might actually exist inside a wormhole, inside a black hole that exists in a much bigger universe. If that isn’t a total mind-fuck, I don’t know what is. But it’s really cool to think about if you can wrap your brain around it. The only way I can do that is to reduce our space-time to 2 dimensions and visualize like they do in all those discovery channel shows that talk about black holes and wormholes. You know- the old bowling ball on a sheet analogy. If you dare, read the full article at Universe Today. And see the 2D visualization.