Solar flares burn more than our hubris


The latest solar flares emitted on June 10 (Picture: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Laboratory)

One has always felt a perverse pleasure in pointing out our utter inconsequentiality in the cosmic scheme of things. I suspect somewhere along the line I subconsciously use it to mitigate my own failure to amount to much inside our miniscule world. It is perhaps an alibi for my personal inadequacies. Nevertheless, that still does not change the facts as they are.

Reading about the Sun emitting the X class flares, which are the biggest flares of their kind, on June 10, my first impulse was to look for the size of those massive bursts of gas, plasma and other stuff. I could not establish the precise dimensions of the latest eruption but the last big one in January this year was said to be seven times the size the Earth. Look at the photograph above and focus on the flares on the left hand size of the frame. Those are big enough to engulf seven Earths and pretty much atomize them if they were inside those. That should give you the first clue about our inconsequentiality. If that happens, I think the brightest earthly substance to burn would be our collective hubris. By the way, that includes Kim Kardashian and her fake celebrity as well.

It has been my lifelong habit to drop all human certitudes and sense of accomplishment in the cosmic/universal context to illustrate how we figure nowhere other than in our own petty imaginations. Even solar flares, gigantic as they are from human perspective, are of no particular consequence in the cosmic scheme. Forget solar flares, the solar system as a whole, which stretches close to five billion miles or about eight billion kilometers if you regard the Pluto as its outermost edge, is nothing more than a mediocre neighborhood in an obscure corner of a mid-sized galaxy where probably 100 billion other stars are found.

On a separate matter, this is what I said on Facebook update this morning:

Here is the clinching evidence that the Sun is male. It farts in our faces, as manifest in the latest X class solar flares, and does not even apologize. Ergo, the Sun is a crass, uncouth man.

And the purpose of this post? I suppose it would be foolish to look for purpose inside the scale of things I have just given you.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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