The NASA people are seeing the sun in its three-dimensional form for the first time. It always was for me. Did any of you ever think about it as a cardboard cut-out? Even in photographs it not only had character but splashed the sky with hues of its own. And the eclipses came with so many fascinating moments and superstitions. The sun was meant to be experienced subtly not to “watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory”, as the scientists tell us. They also tell us:
“This is a big moment in solar physics. STEREO has revealed the sun as it really is – a sphere of hot plasma and intricately woven magnetic fields. With data like these, we can fly around the sun to see what's happening over the horizon—without ever leaving our desks.”
I did not need to leave my window or that spot at the beach to know what was happening. I understand that science needs to expand; this information will help track tsunamis, solar storms and also what is taking place in other planets. As they have been saying:
“Farside active regions can no longer take us by surprise. Thanks to STEREO, we know they're coming.”
What after that? Will they be able to stop it?
The pictures of this sun look like an orange or a sepia version of the globe or a pockmarked blurred version of Shrek or just a fluffed-up chappati. I am going to blank out these images from my mind, for to me the other side of the sun is an enigma. That is its magnetic field.