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all About Suns


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#1 Kevin Street

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 03:12 AM

The sun is very stable over short timescales (like millions of years), so I don't think solar fluctuations are responsible for the colour changes you're seeing. Could they be the result of clouds or other particles in the air?

As for flares, they do increase the amount of radiation that bathes the Earth, but on the day side of our planet the ozone layer and the atmosphere block out all the increased radiation. And on the night side, the Earth itself provides a near-perfect shield. If you're living on top of a very tall mountain there might be some concern, but it probably isn't much, since the flares are short lived events.

Dunno about the colour changes, though.

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#2 ultraviolet

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 12:37 PM

Christopher, I'm thinking of a minor background element for a story and I want it somehow related to solar activity that somehow changes the color of the sky (even if it somehow just helps whatever causes the change).    I'm looking for good science if possible if I ever need to explain it a little bit.  the rest of the story won't deal with science because it has no importance in the type of story I want to tell.    This is all about the elements that form the background of a small part of the universe of the story and I wanted something somewhat believable to amke sure whatever science is mentioned somewhat holds up.   have a better one.

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#3 ultraviolet

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 01:25 PM

This is an element that I have been thinking about since yesterday morning when something inspired it.  i was reading about a movie called IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE awhich is a near-future fable about love on an Earth on the verge of cosmis colapse in the year 2021.  It sounds like an interesting movie to see from what I read about it.   I would love to see it and hope it gets a US distributor.   I'm just trying to figure out what would turn the sky into a washed out yellow that makes everything brighter.  I keep seeing it in my mind.  I keep imagining it has something to do with solar activity or that somehow it affects solar activity.   I'm looking for some type of science to why the sky changed colors and what what the effects be that would give a reasonable scientific explaination without having to rely on psuedoscience.  I'm not going to be focuing on disaster angles though.     I'm just looking for type of science on why it happened and how it was caused.   Have a better one.

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#4 ultraviolet

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 11:56 PM

There are some things I have been wondering about today.   I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what could cause the sun to change and in result change the way colors are displayed during the daytime (and no I'm not talking about a sun growing to become a supernova).   Also I wonder if enough solar flare activity happens, could it cause radiation to flare up during teh daytime and cause cancer faster than usual if you're too exposed to the sun when such activity happens.   I'm thinking of what could cause the colors of the sky to change to a washed out bright yellow during the daytime and affect how colors are represented during the daytime if the clouds aren't obscuring the sun.   Need answers.   help is much needed.  have a better one.

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David Blackwell


#5 Christopher

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 09:13 AM

Ultraviolet, are you talking about something you've actually seen, or trying to come up with an explanation for something you want to put in a story?

The color of the sky is not primarily dependent on the spectrum of the sun, but on the size of the particles scattering its light -- in Earth's case, the air molecules.  Long wavelengths like red and yellow can "stride" right over the air molecules without hitting many of them.  But short wavelengths like blue are close to them in size and will therefore hit more of them and get bounced off-course.  They bounce around all over the sky, so the blue wavelengths come at you from all directions while the rest of the sun's light comes straight.  Now, there is a bit of green scattered too, so if for some reason the blue is suppressed, you can see a greenish sky.  This is sometimes observed for a brief moment at sunset or sunrise in certain conditions, and is called the "green flash."  I guess it's because at those times, you're seeing the sun through a much greater thickness of atmosphere (because the line of sight is tangential to the surface rather than upward) and most of the blue light is absorbed before it reaches your eyes.  That's also why the sky often appears red around a rising or setting sun.

The sky can also appear red if it's filled with larger particles, able to intercept and scatter the long wavelengths.  This is why Mars' sky appears reddish-orange, because it's suffused with dust particles.  Planets with different atmospheric compositions might have different-colored skies, but you couldn't breathe the air.

I think that if a planet with our kind of atmosphere orbited a cool red M-type star, one with little blue light in its spectrum, the sky might appear a dull green or gray-green, much the way our sky looks through my blue-block anti-glare sunglasses.  But a yellow sky could only be explained by particles or unusual gasses in the atmosphere.

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#6 Christopher

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 01:08 PM

Hmm... well, I can't see any way that a change in solar activity could produce a washed-out yellow sky.

On your other question, though, I do think that if a really intense flare were to hit the Earth, it could maybe cause serious radiation exposure.  A really strong blast of radiation could actually weaken the ozone layer.  Though I read about that in connection with supernovae in nearby systems, not flares from the sun, so I don't know if the kind or intensity of radiation is equivalent.  I think I read a disaster novel about this once -- yeah, it was called Flare by Roger Zelazny and Thomas T. Thomas.  Apparently out of print now, though it looks like several people are selling cheap used copies through Amazon.com.

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#7 ervin64

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 05:27 PM

Perhaps if you had your atmosphere contaminated with gaseous compounds of nitrogen and oxygen, you could get the color to change.  Those compounds tend to be yellowish in color.  Of course, I don't think they're real good to breathe.


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