|(Image credit: SOHO satellite)|
As Douglas Adams had the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy observe wryly, space is really big. You might think it's a long way to the chemist's shop, but that's peanuts compared to space. Or something like that... In that vein, it is likely, without much question, that our Sun really is the biggest thing in your, my and everyone's little lives.
We know that most life on Earth derives its energy ultimately from sunlight. And while the Sun will eventually - a few billion years hence - have consumed too much of its fuel to sustain the outward expansion against gravity, will collapse to a tiny dense dwarf star then, for reasons I cannot be bothered to Google now, expand in size out to the orbit of Jupiter, consuming Earth and the inner planets, for now, we generally have a pretty positive view of how important Sun is for us (sunburn warnings notwithstanding). Therefore, it must have come as a surprise to many to read recently that, on account of a forthcoming solar storm, we were all doomed. What do you mean, what's a solar storm? And why, on its account would doom be forthcoming? Ah, you need to read the most excellent ScienceBlogs article on solar storms:
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