The Sun Is Napping

How Low Can It Go? Sun Plunges Into The Quietest Solar Minimum In A Century

"This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees forecaster David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

I guess we can't expect the sun to continually produce sunspots, even it needs a break every once in awhile. But is that what's going on? Is it sleepy? Sick? Playing an inter-galactic game of hide and seek?

Perhaps we'll never know…

Comments (3)

The Sun.. bleh!

When morning rolls around, I don't think that there's anything that I despise more at that moment than the sun. It's like an alarm clock without a snooze button, and because of it I've been waking up between 5:30-6am every day for the last few days. It also doesn't help that I'm sleeping in an unfamiliar room. I just want to sleep until 7ish – 6:45am would be nice and give me plenty of time to get ready for work.

What I really want is a way to automatically control the amount of sunlight that makes it into my room that early in the morning. There are a few ways I could do this.

The easiest system would be to just completely block my windows and rely on my internal clock and an alarm clock to wake up at the right time. Unfortunately, I'm the type of person that will stare at a clock for an hour if I wake up too early just so I don't get jarred out of my sleep from an alarm. Which brings up the other obvious fault with this – alarms are a horrible way to wake up.

Another way that I've toyed around with in my head is to block out the windows like with the last idea, and create a light system that will go from off to completely on gradually over a given time period. The idea is to create an artificial sunrise on your own schedule, allowing you to wake up more naturally. The problem? Light and sunlight just aren't the same thing, and while it may be easier on the body than a horrible buzzer or radio turning on, the body won't react to it quite like it would to sunlight. Also, who really wants to have their windows covered all the time?

So what does that leave? Computer controlled window blinds. The system would be similar to the artificial sunrise idea, except rather than dimming lights, the system would slowly open the blinds. Besides the coolness of having things move on their own, this could be practical for other applications. For instance, if it were coupled with a couple temperature sensors, all the blinds in your house could close automatically during the hot summer days to prevent your home from getting crazy-hot – saving money and energy on air-conditioning.

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Daylight Saving Time

Clock at Ogilvie
I've never really figured out how I feel about daylight saving time. It's easy to complain about those first few days, because it manages to throw my already skewed sense of time off even more.

The "extra" daylight is nice, but I can't help and wonder what would happen if we just picked a time and stuck it out. Sure, things get a bit wonky as seasons change, but I'm willing to endure that rather than having to remember to magically increase or decrease a day by an entire hour.

One habit that I've gotten into is fixing everyone else's clocks. Microwaves and stoves are prime targets during this time, along with some VCRs (you know, the ones that still display the time on the front.) This year though, everyone seems to have figured out how to do it themselves – other than my own time-keeping devices, I only had to change the time in one vehicle. Part of me is disappointed – the rest of me wants to pummel that part for being such a nerd.

The clocks here in the library still haven't been updated which always irks me because they're controlled from a central time-keeping place on campus. I'm guessing that the other buildings are all correct, but I have a feeling whoever needs to push the button to make all the clocks advance to the right time immediately is just waiting to see how long it takes for someone to call and ask nicely to put us an hour into the future.

Comments (7)