The Sun’s Energy Doesn’t Come From Fusing Hydrogen Into Helium (Mostly)

“It might surprise you to learn that hydrogen-fusing-into-helium makes up less than half of all nuclear reactions in our Sun, and that it’s also responsible for less than half of the energy that the Sun eventually outputs. There are strange, unearthly phenomena along the way: the diproton that usually just decays back to the original protons that made it, positrons spontaneously emitted from unstable nuclei, and in a small (but important) percentage of these reactions, a rare mass-8 nucleus, something you’ll never find naturally occurring here on Earth. But that’s the nuclear physics of where the Sun gets its energy from, and it’s so much richer than the simple fusion of hydrogen into helium!”

Ask anyone where the Sun (or any star) gets its energy from, and most people will correctly answer “nuclear fusion.” But if you ask what’s getting fused, most people – including most scientists – will tell you that the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium, and that’s what powers it. It’s true that the Sun uses hydrogen as its initial fuel, and that helium-4 is indeed the end product, but the individual reactions that take place to turn hydrogen into helium are surprisingly diverse and intricate. There are actually four major reactions that take place in the sun: fusing two protons into deuterium, fusing deuterium and a proton into helium-3, fusing two helium-3 nuclei into helium-4, and fusing helium-3 and helium-4 in a chain reaction to produce two helium-4 nuclei. Note that only one of those reactions actually turns hydrogen into helium, and that’s not what makes up either the majority of reactions or the majority of the Sun’s energy!

The Sun fuses hydrogen into helium, but that’s not the only thing that powers it. Come find out how the Sun really works today!

Nintendo Announces Upcoming DLC Details for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!!!
  • The Dark World- An entire second map the size of the regular world with all new quests!
  • The Triforce Quest- A new main quest featuring the classic icon within the new “Great Pyramid Shrine” dungeon!
  • Two New Divine Beasts- Vah Gamerah based on the form of a turtle, and Vah Umbertus, based on the form of a walrus!
  • All New Weapons and Armor- Including the “Guardian Buster” sword, the “Bust Guardian” shirt, and the “Proton Pack” which can trap those pesky wizzrobes!
  • Mini-Games- “Waffle Making” and “Snot Rocket Distance!”
  • Unlockable Playable Characters- Ganondorf, Zelda, and Samus!
  • A “Nude Code”- By popular demand for Prince Sidon!
  • New Main Bosses- Including “Soilblight Ganon,” “Leafblight Ganon,” and the horrifying “Fusarium Ear Blight Ganon!”
  • Two New Runes: “Flame,” which can burn any substance in Hyrule, and “Guilt,” which makes enemies feel really bad about trying to hurt you, sending them into despondent hours of self contemplation and regret!
  • New Sheikah Slate Features- Including solutions to shrines in the “Sheikahpedia” and the words “Don’t Panic!” inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover!
  • Cars- Purchase and maintain cars with which you can drive across the plains of Hyrule. Customize your tires and paint job, keep an eye on your gas meter, and register your license plates with the Hyrule DMV! (75 Rupee surcharge per form filed in Lanaryu)
  • Mod Abilities- Including the ability to turn all Bokoblins into Macho Man Randy Savage!
  • Lent- Observe Lent by abstaining from meat for 40 days of game time!
Houses as Tumblr Text Posts Part Three
  • Gryffindor: My last word will probably be either "whoops" or "shit"
  • Hufflepuff: yoU THINK YOU'RE REAL CUTE, DON'T YOU? REAL BLOODY CUTE, RIGHT?? I think so too
  • Ravenclaw: Eyebrow game strong? Psh, my eyeBAG game is strong. I'm fucking exhausted, haha oops
  • Slytherin: Science fact- The world around you is made up of protons, neutrons, morons, and electrons

The Scientific Story Of How Each Element Was Made

“Neutron star mergers create the greatest heavy element abundances of all, including gold, mercury, and platinum. Meanwhile, cosmic rays blast nuclei apart, creating the Universe’s lithium, beryllium, and boron. Finally, the heaviest, unstable elements are made in terrestrial laboratories. The result is the rich, diverse Universe we inhabit today.”

When the Big Bang first occurred, the Universe was filled with all the various particles and antiparticles making up the Standard Model, and perhaps still others yet to be discovered. But missing from the list were protons, neutrons, or any of the atomic nuclei key to the life-giving elements in our Universe today. Yet the Universe expanded, cooled, antimatter annihilated away, and the first elements began to take shape. After billions of years of cosmic evolution, we arrived at a Universe recognizable today: full of stars, planets, and the full complement of elements populating the periodic table. More than 100 elements are known today, 91 of which are found to occur naturally on Earth. Some were formed in the Big Bang, others were formed in stars, still others were formed in violent cosmic cataclysms or collisions. Yet every one has an origin whose story is now known, giving rise to all we interact with today.

Come get the full story behind how all the elements were made in some fantastic pictures, visuals, and no more than 200 words on this edition of Mostly Mute Monday!

anonymous asked:

Pls tell me interesting facts about stars

Interesting facts about stars:

  • Heavy stars blow up and make heavier elements like gold. So, every bit of gold you’ve ever seen, worn, or touched came from the dying explosion of a star. Other elements made in supernovae include anything on the periodic table heavier than iron
  • Heavy stars blow up when they start fusing iron. Meaning, the iron in your frying pan, car, and your blood killed a star at least 3 times the mass of the sun.
  • Some massive stars that die end up compressing all their mass into a star about 6 miles across, or about the size of a city. This is called a neutron star.
    • To put this in perspective, these stars start out 3 times as big as our sun and all of their mass is crushed into something the size of a city. The space between atoms is squished away, and the protons and electrons combine to form neutrons. 
    • Neutron stars are literally as dense as atomic nuclei
  • Most stars come in pairs
  • The most common stellar type is a red dwarf, which is a small, red, dim, cool star.

Honestly, that’s just the first few that come to mind, space is really crazy.


Ask Ethan: If Matter Is Made Of Point Particles, Why Does Everything Have A Size?

“Many sources state that quarks are point particles… so one would think that objects composed of them — in this instance, neutrons — would also be points. Is my logic flawed? Or would they be bound to each other in such a way that they would cause the resulting neutron to have angular size?”

When we consider things like molecules, atoms, or even protons and neutrons, they all have finite, measurable sizes. Yet the fundamental particles that they’re made out of, like quarks, electrons, and gluons, are all inherently points, with no physical size to them at all. Why, then, does every composite particle not only have a size, but some of them, like atoms, grow to be relatively huge almost immediately, even with only a few fundamental particles involved? It’s due to three factors that all work together: forces, the quantum properties of the particles themselves, and energy. Since the strong and electromagnetic forces work against each other, quarks and gluons can form finite-sized protons; protons and neutrons assemble into nuclei larger than the protons and neutrons combined would make; electrons, with their low mass and high zero-point energy, orbit around nuclei only at great (relative) distances.

Matter doesn’t need to be made of finite-sized particles to wind up creating the macroscopic Universe we know and love. Find out how on this week’s Ask Ethan!

Astronomy and Astrophysics: Facts

Here is a list of some curiosities of astronomy and astrophysics. From our solar system to interstellar space.

Ganymede - Ganymede is the largest and most massive moon of Jupiter and in the Solar System. It has a diameter of 5,268 km and is 8% larger than the planet Mercury. Is the only moon known to have a magnetic field.

Supersonic Wind - Neptune, the eighth and farthest planet from the sun, has the strongest winds in the solar system. At high altitudes speeds can exceed 1,100 mph. That is 1.5 times faster than the speed of sound. 

Io - Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active world in the Solar System, with hundreds of volcanoes, some erupting lava fountains dozens of miles (or kilometers) high. Io is caught in a tug-of-war between Jupiter’s massive gravity and the smaller but precisely timed pulls from two neighboring moons that orbit further from Jupiter - Europa and Ganymede. 

Magnetosphere of Jupiter - The stronger the magnetic field, the larger the magnetosphere. Some 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field, Jupiter’s magnetic field creates a magnetosphere so large it begins to avert the solar wind almost 3 million kilometers before it reaches Jupiter. The magnetosphere extends so far past Jupiter it sweeps the solar wind as far as the orbit of Saturn. 

A scary future: Sun - A red giant star is a dying star in the last stages of stellar evolution. In only a few billion years, our own sun will turn into a red giant star, expand and engulf the inner planets, possibly even Earth. 

Supernova - Supernovas can briefly outshine entire galaxies and radiate more energy than our sun will in its entire lifetime. 

OJ 287 - The rotational rate of this massive black hole is one third of the maximum spin rate allowed in General Relativity. This 18 billion-solar-mass black hole powers a quasar called OJ 287 which lies about 3.5 billion light-years away from Earth. 

Olympus Mons - Olympus Mons is a big volcano. It is almost unimaginably huge. It is 550 kilometers (342 miles) across at its base, and the volcanic crater (the technical term is ‘caldera’) at the peak is 80 kilometers (53 miles) long. If you were standing at the edge of the caldera, the volcano is so broad and the slopes are so gradual that the base of the volcano would be beyond the horizon. That’s right, it is a volcano so big that it curves with the surface of the planet. 

Neutron star - A neutron star has a mass of about 1.4 times the mass of the sun, but is not much bigger than a small city, about 15 km in radius. A teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh about 10 million tons. The gravitational field is intense; the escape velocity is about 0.4 times the speed of light. The collapsed star is so dense that electrons and protons do not exist separately, but are fused to form neutrons. The outer layers form a rigid crust surrounded by an atmosphere of a highly energetic electrons and excited atoms. 

Gravitational waves - Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. Einstein’s mathematics showed that massive accelerating objects (such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other) would disrupt space-time in such a way that 'waves’ of distorted space would radiate from the source (like the movement of waves away from a stone thrown into a pond). 

Sources: Wikipedia , laspe.colorad,,, LIGO &


Gorgeous series of Aurora Borealis arcs over Tromsø, Norway - and I think based on the waves that all these clips are real time.

1,000 Days in Orbit: MAVEN’s Top 10 Discoveries at Mars

On June 17, our MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) will celebrate 1,000 Earth days in orbit around the Red Planet.

Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world.

Here’s a countdown of the top 10 discoveries from the mission so far:

10. Unprecedented Ultraviolet View of Mars

Revealing dynamic, previously invisible behavior, MAVEN was able to show the ultraviolet glow from the Martian atmosphere in unprecedented detail. Nightside images showed ultraviolet “nightglow” emission from nitric oxide. Nightglow is a common planetary phenomenon in which the sky faintly glows even in the complete absence of eternal light.

9. Key Features on the Loss of Atmosphere

Some particles from the solar wind are able to penetrate unexpectedly deep into the upper atmosphere, rather than being diverted around the planet by the Martian ionosphere. This penetration is allowed by chemical reactions in the ionosphere that turn the charged particles of the solar wind into neutral atoms that are then able to penetrate deeply.

8. Metal Ions

MAVEN made the first direct observations of a layer of metal ions in the Martian ionosphere, resulting from incoming interplanetary dust hitting the atmosphere. This layer is always present, but was enhanced dramatically by the close passage to Mars of Comet Siding Spring in October 2014.

7. Two New Types of Aurora

MAVEN has identified two new types of aurora, termed “diffuse” and “proton” aurora. Unlike how we think of most aurorae on Earth, these aurorae are unrelated to either a global or local magnetic field.

6. Cause of the Aurorae

These aurorae are caused by an influx of particles from the sun ejected by different types of solar storms. When particles from these storms hit the Martian atmosphere, they can also increase the rate of loss of gas to space, by a factor of ten or more.

5. Complex Interactions with Solar Wind

The interactions between the solar wind and the planet are unexpectedly complex. This results due to the lack of an intrinsic Martian magnetic field and the occurrence of small regions of magnetized crust that can affect the incoming solar wind on local and regional scales. The magnetosphere that results from the interactions varies on short timescales and is remarkably “lumpy” as a result.

4. Seasonal Hydrogen

After investigating the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet for a full Martian year, MAVEN determined that the escaping water does not always go gently into space. The spacecraft observed the full seasonal variation of hydrogen in the upper atmosphere, confirming that it varies by a factor of 10 throughout the year. The escape rate peaked when Mars was at its closest point to the sun and dropped off when the planet was farthest from the sun.

3. Gas Lost to Space

MAVEN has used measurements of the isotopes in the upper atmosphere (atoms of the same composition but having different mass) to determine how much gas has been lost through time. These measurements suggest that 2/3 or more of the gas has been lost to space.

2. Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere

MAVEN has measured the rate at which the sun and the solar wind are stripping gas from the top of the atmosphere to space today, along with details of the removal process. Extrapolation of the loss rates into the ancient past – when the solar ultraviolet light and the solar wind were more intense – indicates that large amounts of gas have been lost to space through time.

1. Martian Atmosphere Lost to Space

The Mars atmosphere has been stripped away by the sun and the solar wind over time, changing the climate from a warmer and wetter environment early in history to the cold, dry climate that we see today.

Maven will continue its observations and is now observing a second Martian year, looking at the ways that the seasonal cycles and the solar cycle affect the system.

For more information about MAVEN, visit:

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history of the entire world, i guess; a transcript

hi. you’re on a rock, floating in space. pretty cool, huh? some of it’s water. fuck it, actually most of it’s water. i can’t even get from here to there without buying a boat. it’s sad. i’m sad. i miss you. how did this happen? a long time ago, actually never, and also now, nothing is nowhere. when? never. makes sense, right? like i said, it didn’t happen. nothing was never anywhere. that’s why its been everywhere. it’s been so everywhere, you don’t need a “where”. you don’t even need a “when”. that’s how “every” it gets. (pause). forget this. i wanna be something, go somewhere, do something. i want things to change. i want to invent time and space. and i know it’s possible because everything is here and it probably already happened. i just don’t know when to start. and that’s exactly where it started. (background noise) woah. i… paused it. i think there’s a universe now. what’s it made of? quarks and stuff. ah, that’s a thing, in a place. don’t like it? try a new place, at a different Time™. try to stick together because the world is gonna get bigger and emptier. but it’s not empty yet. it’s still very full, and about a kjghpillion degrees. (about no seconds later). great news! the quarks are now happily married in groups of three called a “proton” or a “neutron”. and there’s something else flying around too that wants to join in but can’t cause it’s still to (HOT). (about ten minutes later). great news! the protons and the neutrons are now happily married to each other (some of them even doubled up). (about 380,000 years later). great news, the electrons have now joined in. congratulations, the world is now a bunch of gas in space. but it’s getting closer together and it’s getting closer together and it’s getting closer together. it’s a staaaar. new shit just got made. some stars burn out and die. bigger stars burn out and die with passion! and make some brand new way crazier shit. space dust! which allows newer, more interesting stars to be made, and then die, and explode into even crazier space dust. so now stars have cool stuff around them, like rocks, ice, and funny clouds, which can make some very interesting things. like this ball of flaming rocks, for example. holy shit, we just got hit with another ball of flaming rocks, and it kinda made a mess. which is now the moon. weather update: it’s raining rocks from outer space. weather update: those rocks might’ve had water inside them and now there’s Hot Steam in the sky. weather update: cooler temperatures today, and the floor is no longer lava. weather update: its raining. severe flooding alert: the entire world is now an ocean. volcano alert: that’s land. there’slifeintheocean. what? something’s alive in the ocean. oh cool, like a plant or an animal? no. a microscopic speck! it lives at the bottom of the ocean and eats chemical soup which is being served hot and fresh made from gnarly space ingredients leftover from when it was raining rocks or whatever. oh yeah, and it can do that. it has secret instructions written inside itself telling it how to build another one of itself. so that’s pretty nifty, i would say. tired of living at the bottom of the ocean? now you can eat sunlight. using a revolutionary technique you can convert sunlight into food. taste the sun. side effect: now there’s oxygen everywhere and the sky’s blue. then the earth might’ve been a snowball for a while, maybe even a coupla times. it’s a sponge, it’s a plant, it’s a worm and some other types of weird strange water bugs and strange fish. it’s the Cambrian explosion. “wow, that’s animals and stuff.” but we’re still in the ocean. hey, can we go on land? NoO. why? the sun is a deadly lazer. oh okay. not anymore there’s a blanket. now the animals can go on land. come on, animals, let’s go on land! “nope, can’t walk yet. and there’s no food yet so i don’t care.” (100 million years later) ok, will you learn to walk if there’s plants up here? “maybe,” said some bugs, and fish. “uh. uh. uh.” (five million years later) “ok so i can go on land but i have to go back in the water to have babies.” (idea) learn to use an egg. “i was already doing that.” use a stronger egg, and put water in it, have a baby, on land, in an egg. water is in the egg, baby, in the water, in the egg. works for me. bye bye ocean. aaand now everything is huge. including bugs. wanna see a map of the land? sure. ah fuck, now everything’s dead. just kidding here are the survivors. keep your eye on this one because its about to become the dinosaurs. here’s another map of the land. yeah, it broke apart, don’t worry about it, it does that all the time. here comes a meteor. and the dinosaurs are gone. its mammal time! here come the mammals. look at those breasts. now they’re gonna dominate the world, and one of them just learned how to grab stuff. and walk. no, like, walk like ‘that’. and grab stuff at the same time. and bang rocks together to make… pointed rocks. “ouch.” and set things on fire. “yeouch.” and make crazy sounds with their voice (“gneurshk.”) which can mean different things. that’s a human person. and now they’re everywhere, almost. ice age. what? you can walk over here? cool. not anymore. i guess we’re stuck here now.

let’s review. there’s people on the planet. and they’re chasing their food. fuck it, time to plant some grass. look at this, i control the food now. now everyone will want to be my friend and live near me. let’s all build houses except mine is bigger because i own the food. this is great, i wonder if anyone else is doing this. tired of using rocks for everything? use metal. it’s underground. better farming was just invented in a sweet dank valley right in between these two rivers, and the animals are helping. guess what happens next. more food, and more people who came to buy the food. now you need people to help make the food and keep track of the sales. and now you need houses for people to live in, and people to make the houses. and now there’s more people and they invent things, which makes things better and more people come. and there’s more farming and more people to make more things for more people. and now there’s business, money, writing, laws, power. sociiiety. coming soon to a dank river valley near you. meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, the horse is probably being tamed. why is all my metal so lame and lumpy? tired of using lame, sad metal? introducing bronze, made with special ingredient tin from the far lands of tin land. i don’t know, my dealer won’t tell me where he gets it. also, guess what - egypt. meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, they figured out how to put wheels on a horse. now we’re getting somewhere. also, china. and did i mention indusrivervalleycivilization. norte chico. the middle east is getting more complicated, maybe because it’s in the middle of the east. knock knock- er, clop clop, it’s the people with the horses? and they made an empire! and then everyone else copied their horses. greeks! ah look, it must be the greeks, or a beta version of the greeks. let’s check in with the indus river valley civilization. they’re gone. guess who’s not gone? china. new arrivals in india. maybe it’s thosehorsepeopleiwastalkingabout or theircousinsorsomething. and they wrote some hymns and mantras and stuff. you could make a religion out of this. there’s the bronze age collapse. now the phoenicians can get down to business. also, can we switch to a metal that’s a little easier to find? thanks. look who came back to israel, it’s the twelve tribes of israel. and they believe in god. just one though, he’s got like a ten step program. here’s some huge heads, must be the olmec. the phoenicians make some colonies. the greeks copy their idea and make some colonies. the phoenicians made a colony so big it makes colonies. here comes the assyrian empire. nevermind it’s the babylonian- median- it’s the persian empire. “wow, that’s big.” ah, the buddha was just enlightened! who’s the buddha? this guy, who sat under a tree for so long that he figured out how to ignore the fact that we’re all dying. you could make a religion out of this. oops, china just broke, but while it was breaking confucius was figuring out how to have good morals. ah, the greeks just had the idea of thinking about stuff. and right over here, alexander just had the idea of conquering the entire persian empire. it’s a great idea, he was…great. and now he’s dead. hopefully, the rest of the gang will be able to share the empire evenly between them. knock knock, it’s chandragupta, he says, “get the hell out of here, will you get the hell out of here if i give you 500 elephants? ok thanks bye; time to conquer all of india- or most of india”. but what about this part? that’s the tamil kings, no one conquers the tamil kings. who are the tamil kings? merchants, probably. and they’ve got spices. who would like to buy the spices? “me,” said the arabians, swiftly buying them and selling them to the rest of the world. hey, china put itself back together again with good morals as their main philosophy. actually they have three main philosophies. out here, the horse nomads run wild and free, and they would like to ransack your city. let’s check the greekification levels of the greekified kingdoms: greekification overload! “bye,” said the parthians, “bye,” said the jews. “hi,” said the parthians, taking over the entire place. “heyyyyyyyy,” said the romans, eating the entire mediterranean for breakfast. “thanks for invading our homeland,” said the jews, who were starting to get tired of people invading their homeland. “hi, everything’s great,” said some guy who seems to be getting very popular, and then gets arrested and killed for being too popular, which only makes him more popular. you could make a religion out of this. want silk? now you can buy it from china! they just made a brand new road to the world…or you can get there on water. “sick, new trade routes,” said india, accidentally spreading their religion to the entire southeast. hmm, that’s a good place for an epic trading kingdom. there goes buddhism, travelling up the silk road. i wonder if it’ll reach china before it collapses again. “remember the persian empire? yup,” said the persians, making a new one. axum is getting so powerful they would like to build a long stick. has anyone populated madagascar yet? let’s do it together. china is whole again…then it broke again. still can’t cross the sahara desert? try camels. “hell yeah, now we’ve got business,” said the ghana empire, selling lots of gold, and slaves. “hi i live in the roman empire and i was wondering, is loving jesus legal yet?” “no” “actually ok sure,” said constantine, moving the capitol way over here to be closer to his main rival. don’t worry about rome, it won’t fall. it’s the golden age of india. there’s the gupta empire. not chandragupta, just gupta, first name chandra, the first. guess who’s in rome? barbarians. what’s a barbarian? “non-romans,” said the romans, being invaded by non-romans. r.i.p. roman empire. or actually, just half is just fine. but it’s not in rome anymore so let’s give it a new name. the mayans have figured out the staaars. oh, and here’s a huge city, population everyone. the göktürks have taken over the entire eurasian steppe. great job, göktürks. how’s india? broken. how’s china? back together. how’s those trading kingdoms? bigger, and there’s more of them. korea has three kingdoms. japan has a kingdom, it’s the sunrise kingdom.

deep in the arabian desert, on the top of a mountain, the real god whispers in muhammad’s ear, so he goes down to the cube where everyone worships gods, and he tells them their gods are all fake. and everyone got so mad at him that he had to leave town and go to a different town. you could make a religion out of this. and maybe conquer the world as well. the roman empire is long gone, but somehow the pope is still the pope. plus there’s new kingdoms all over europe. i wonder if there’s room for moors. here’s all the wisdom, in a house. it’s the baghdad house of wisdom, just in time for the islamic golden age. “let’s bring stuff to the coast and sell it, and become the swahili on the swahili coast,” said the swahili on the swahili coast. remember this tiny space you have to go through to get from here to there? someone owns that now. wanna get enlightened in the middle of nowhere? the franks have the biggest kingdom in europe, and the pope is so proud that he invites the king over for christmas. “surprise, you’re the new roman emperor,” said the pope, pretending to still be part of the roman empire. then the franks broke their kingdom into what will later be called france and not france. the northerners, or just norse if you don’t have that much time, are exploring. they go north, from the north to the northern north, and they find some land. two types of land, and they name them accordingly. they also invade some other places and get called many names, such as vikings. there’s the rus, the kievan rus. are they vikings? “i don’t think so,” said the kievan rus. ok, fair enough. the pope is ready to make some more emperors of the roman empire, the holy roman empire. it’s actually germany but don’t worry about it. new kingdoms! christianizeallthekingdoms. which brand would you like? “mine’s better,” “mine’s better,” “mine’s better”. “time to conquer england,” said william. it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the seljuk turks. “ahh!” said the byzantine empire, who’s getting so small it almost doesn’t exist anymore, “we need help!” they need help, so they call the pope. “hey pope, can you help us get rid of the seljuks? maybe take back the holy land on the way? come on, i know you wanna take back the holy land.” “yes, i do actually want to do that. let’s do a crusade.” crusade. they did many crusades, some of which almost didn’t fail, but at least the italians got some sweet trade deals. goodbye mayans. hello toltecs, goodbye toltecs, hello mississippi. look at those mounds. there’s the pueblo. i always wondered how to build a town in a cliff. guess who’s here? khmer. where? here, and pagan is there, and vietnam unconquered itself, korea just became itself, and japan is so addicted to art that the military might have to take over the government. china just invented bombs, and typing. and the mongols just invaded most of the universe. nice going, genghis. i bet that will last a long time! some of the islamic turks were unaffected by the mongol invasions because they were busy invading india. is it tonga time? i think it’s tonga time. i just found out where the swahili gets all their gold. look at this chad (means lake), there’s an empire there, right in the middle of africa. the king of mali is so rich he’s going on tour to let everyone know. “wow, that guy’s rich,” everyone said. the christians are doing a great job of conquering iberia which will soon be called spain and not spain. please remain christian. we will check in later to see if you are still christian when you least expect. whoops, half of europe just died. ming. china’s back, yay. hey khmer, time to share, new kingdoms here and there. oh look who controls all the islands, its the mahajapit. majahapit, mapajahit, mahapajit, mapajahit, majapahit? oh, italy’s really rich, time for them to care a lot about art and the ancient classics. it’s kinda like a rebirth. here’s a printer, lets make books. so you think you can conquer the byzantine empire? “yep,” said the ottoman turks. nice job, ottoman turks. whoops, you missed a spot; don’t forget to ban europe from the indian spice trade. “what? that’s bullshit,” said portugal, spiceless. well i guess we’ll have to find another way to india. “wait,” said christopher colombus, probably smoking crack, “if the world is round, lets go this way to india!” “nah, don’t worry we already got this,” said portugal. so chris goes to spain. “hey spain, wanna hire me to go find india by going around back of the world?”  “no.”  “please?”  “no.”  “please?”  “no.” “please?” “ok.” so he sails into the ocean, and discovers more ocean, and then discovers ‘the indies’ and ‘japan’. let’s draw a line to decide who gets which half of the world. the aztec and inca empires are off to a great start. i wonder if they know that europe just discovered their continent. the habsburgs are marrying into so many royal families they might have to start marrying each other. move over lithuania, here comes moscow. ivan wants to make russia great again. move over timurids, maybe go invade india or something. persia just made persia persian again. let’s make it the other kind of islam, the one where we thought the first guy should’ve been the other guy. hey christians, do you sin? now you can buy your way out of hell. “that’s bullshit, this whole thing is bullshit, that’s a scam, fuck the church, here’s 95 reasons why,” said martin luther, in his book which might have accidentally started the protestant reformation. “you know what would be magnificent?” said suleiman, wearing an onion hat, “what if the ottoman empire was really big, which it is now.”  “what if russia was big,” said ivan, trying not to be terrible. portugal had a dream that they controlled the entire indian ocean, including the spice trade, and then that dream was real. and spain realised that this is not india, but they pillaged it anyway. “damn,” said england and france, “we gotta start pillaging some stuff.” then the dutch revolt and all the hipsters move to amsterdam. “damn,” said amsterdam, “we gotta start pillaging some stuff.” question one: can you get to india through north america? no, but at least there’s beaver. question two: steal the spice trade. that’s not a question but the dutch did it anyway. sugar. guess where all the sugar’s made? in brazil. stolen! in the carribean, and it’s so goddamn profitable you might forget to not do slavery. the next thing on russia’s to-do list is to get bigger. britain and france are having a friendly discussion about who should control the entire world, more specifically, ohio. then it escalates into a seven year discussion, giving prussia a chance to show austria who’s boss. but what about britain and france, did they figure out who’s boss? yes they did, it’s britain. guess who’s broke? also britain. so they start taxing the hell out of america.

“fuck you,” says america, declaring their independence, and fighting for it. france helps them win, now france is broke. and britain will have to send their prisoners to a different continent. wait if france is broke, why do the king and queen still wear such fancy dresses? “let’s overthrow the palace and cut all their heads off!” said robespierre, cutting everybody’s head off until someone eventually got mad and cut his head off. you could make a reli- no don’t. haiti is starting to like the idea of a revolution, especially the slaves, who free themselves by killing their masters. “why didn’t we think of this before?” wait, who’s in charge of france now? “me,” said napoleon, trying to take over europe. luckily, they banished him to an island. but he came back. luckily, they banished him to another island. there goes latin america, becoming independent in the latin america wars of independence. britain just figured out how to turn steam into power, so now they can make many different types of machines and factories with machines in them so they can make a lot of products real fast. then they invent some trains, and conquer india and maybe put some trains there. “hey china,” said britain, “buy stuff from us.” “nah, dude we already got everything,” says china. so britain tried to get them addicted to opium, which worked actually, but then china made it illegal and dumped it all into the sea. so britain threw a hissy-fit and made them open up five cities and give them an island. britain and russia are playing a game where they try to stop each other from conquering afganistan. also the sultan of oman lives in zanzibar now, that’s just where he lives. india had a revolution, and they would like to govern themselves now. “nope,” said britain, governing them even harder than before. technology is about to go crazy. the united states finally figured out whether slavery is good or bad. “it’s bad,” they decided. and then they continued manifesting their destiny, which is to kill the rest of the natives and take their land, and maybe kick out the mexicans too. “i know, let’s rape africa,” said europe, scrambling to see who could rape it the fastest. they never got ethiopia.  britain and france are still hungry. they never got thailand. the united states ran out of destiny to manifest, so they’re looking for more. hawaii. cuba. wait spain controls cuba. “well, blame something on them and go to war! what should we blame on them? let’s blame the maine on spain!” so they blame the maine on spain. now we’re in business. to celebrate, they kick panama out of panama and make a canal, connecting the two oceans. britain just found oil in the middle east. it makes cars go. china is so tired of being bossed around that they delete their old government and make a new stronger government, which is accidentally weaker and controlled by a guy from the previous government. europe hasn’t had a war since the last war, so they start world war one. look at those guns. it’s gonna be a great war, so great we won’t need a second one. after it’s over, they blame germany. russia went on strike and the workers overthrew the government. now everyone’s paycheck is the same. communism, in the soviet union. the arabs revolt, and britain helps. now the ottoman empire is gone, so we can give the jewish people a place to live. hopefully the arabs won’t mind. “let’s cut the cake,” said sykes and picot, carving up the remains of the not-so-ottoman-anymore empire. except turkey, turkey makes a brand new turkey. and then the saudis conquer arabia. it just seemed like the right thing to do. hello? yes, it’s the 1920s calling. let’s get in a car and drive to a party and listen to the jazz on the radio and go to the movies. the economy’s great and it’ll probably be great forever. just kidding. germany’s back, featuring hitler, the angry mustache model. he’s mad at the jews for existing. japan is finally conquering the east, and they’re so excited they rape nanking way too hard. they should probably just deny it. hitler’s out of control, so the international community tackles him and tries to explain to him why killing all the jews is a bad idea, but he kills himself before they could explain it to him. that’s world war two. bonus round: pacific showdown, united states versus japan. fight! finish him. let’s unite all the nations and have some world peace. seems legit. “hi i’m gandhi and if britain doesn’t get the hell out of india i’m going to starve myself in public. wow, that worked?” bonus: now there’s pakistan. actually two pakistans. one of them can be bangladesh later. the jews and the arabs finally figured out which one of them should live in the holy land. “me”, they both said at the same time. “let’s divide up the land so everyone’s happy.” sike! they both get angrier. look out china, there’s a new china in china. what’s on the menu? communism! “no thanks,” said the other china, escaping to an island. i wonder which one is the real china. there’s the korean war, korea versus korea, nobody wins, then it’s on pause forever. let’s meet the sponsors. oh, it’s the two global superpowers. they’re having a friendly debate over which economic system is good and which is an evil virus of satan. and they both have atom bombs. fight! wait no that would be the end of the world. let’s just keep it cool and spy on each other instead. and make sure we have enough atom bombs. “i’ll race you to space. now let’s make some more countries fight themselves.” europe is tired of pillaging other continents, so the continents they were pillaging are tired of being pillaged. so here’s a new map, with new countries. now you can’t tell who they’re being pillaged by. the united states finally decided whether racism is good or bad. they decided it’s bad, and the world agrees. south africa might need another minute to think about it. let’s check the world population. woah. okay. technology’s better too, that might keep happening. the soviet union decides to relax a little and accidentally falls apart. europe makes a union, so now they can all use the same money; except britain because they don’t feel like it. let’s check the mail. surprise! it’s on the computer! whoops, someone just attacked america, i bet they’ll remember that. phone call, surprise, it’s in your pocket! wanna learn everything? surprise, it’s on the computer! now your phone’s a computer, which is in your pocket. whoops, the economy just crashed. don’t worry, the big banks won’t fail, because they’re not supposed to. surprise, flying robots! with bombs. wanna print a brain? some people have no friends. some people have no food. the globe is warming, and the ocean is full of plastic. “let’s save the planet,” said everybody, not knowing how. “let’s invent a thing inventor,” said the thing inventor inventor, after being invented by a thing inventor. that’s pretty cool. by the way, where the hell are we?

Auroral Corona over Norway : Higher than the highest mountain lies the realm of the aurora. Auroras rarely reach below 60 kilometers, and can range up to 1000 kilometers. Aurora light results from energetic electrons and protons striking atoms and molecules in the Earths atmosphere. Somewhat uncommon, an auroral corona appears as a center point for a surrounding display and may occur when an aurora develops directly overhead, or when auroral rays are pointed nearly toward the observer. This picturesque but brief green and purple aurora exhibition occurred last month high above Kvalya, Troms, Norway. The Sessyfjorden fjord runs through the foreground, while numerous stars are visible far in the distance. via NASA



An aurora, sometimes referred to as a polar lights or northern lights, is a natural light display in the sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere / exosphere), where their energy is lost.

Image credit: Science Channel & Gardar Olafsson

Our sun is dynamic and ever-changing. On Friday, July 14, a solar flare and a coronal mass ejection erupted from the same, large active region. The coils arcing over this active region are particles spiraling along magnetic field lines.

Solar flares are explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high-speed particles into space. Such flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections. While these are the most common solar events, the sun can also emit streams of very fast protons – known as solar energetic particle (SEP) events – and disturbances in the solar wind known as corotating interaction regions (CIRs).

Learn more HERE.

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