Life Beyond The Shield

Life on Earth depends on the planet’s natural shielding, otherwise solar and cosmic radiation would ravage our small blue world. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, sponsored by the National Geographic Channel’s series 'One Strange Rock,' Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the wonders of the magnetosphere and discuss the risk of radiation with one of the few humans to ever venture beyond the shield: astronaut Dr. Jeff Hoffman.

Path of Totality: See the Eclipse!

There’s a total solar eclipse sweeping across the center of the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017, so here’s a special Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episode to enhance the experience! Join Robert and Joe for practical viewing tips and a rundown on the celestial mechanics at work in the sky above.

Gazing into the Eclipse

Amid the regular cycle of sun and moon stalks a darkness -- a darkness that ancient humans perceived as cosmic abandonment, portent and demonic disruption. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the celestial mechanics, mythology and terrestrial ramifications of solar and lunar eclipses.

Cosmic Canvas:  Akhenaten and the Aten

Cosmic Canvas: Mock Suns Over England

Cosmic Canvas: Sir William Peck's Sun, 1890

Photograph of a Total Solar Eclipse (1860)

I previously blogged about our understanding of eclipses during the age of myth and early Indian astronomy. With this 1860 image by Warren De La Rue, we enter the photographic era of eclipse.

Space Music: Solar Music Explained

Your parents probably told you never to stare at the sun, but they didn't warn you about listening to it. So by all means lend an ear to the wonderful little sample of "solar music" embedded in the post from solar physicists at the University of Sheffield. Those 14 seconds of noise may sound a little bit like Tangerine Dream, but it's actually caused by the movement of giant magnetic loops in the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere: the solar corona.