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Last Post 10/23/2019 8:12 AM by  Laurel Rachmeler
Why study the sun
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10/22/2019 9:13 AM
    Why do we need to study the sun?

    Sabrina Savage

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    New Member

    10/22/2019 9:45 AM
    I'm so glad you asked! There are so many ways to answer this. I'll highlight just a few of the ones that I connect with the most.

    - The Sun is the source of nearly every bit of energy in the solar system and in your body. It's incredibly important to understand how that energy originates and propagates. On top of that, we need to be able to predict how this vital energy source will evolve for the stability of future generations.

    - We reside *in* the outer reaches of the Sun's atmosphere. There are an awful lot of dynamic events occurring at the Sun that propagate out towards us, even when it's in the "quiet" phase of its cycle. This "space weather" has direct impacts on Earth, particularly with regards to our rapidly growing technological footprint. It affects power grids, GPS, planes, satellites, astronauts, etc....

    - The Sun is the best physics laboratory we have to study incredibly energetic phenomena originating from the interplay of magnetic fields and highly ionized plasma. It's a star! What we learn about the Sun folds into what we can learn about the rest of the entire Universe.

    If you haven't looked at recent pictures of the Sun with some of our latest instrumentation, it's worth a search through the NASA archives. It's really quite mesmerizing.

    Laurel Rachmeler

    New Member

    New Member

    10/23/2019 8:12 AM
    Sabrina gave some excellent reasons as to why we should study this star at the center of our solar system. You can ask this question of almost any scientific discipline: why do it? Humans have a basic drive to understand our environment, to explore new places, to learn new things. Doing scientific research as a scientist is about exploring something that no one in human history fully understands, it is about creating new knowledge for humankind! In order to do that you have to be comfortable with the fact that no one will be able to tell you if this is the "right answer" or not, because no one knows! You also have to be open to being proven wrong. We make scientific discoveries and progress to the best of our ability, based on current technologies and understandings. But a day, a year, or 100 years in the future someone else might come along and disprove what you figured out. This is a good thing, and this cycle is what leads to progress.
    I love this little illustrated guide ( which is specifically about getting a PhD, but I think it is applicable to any scientist all throughout their career.
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