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Scientists May Have Unwittingly Spotted Planet Nine in Our Solar System

In the fall of 2003, it unleashed an eruption of energy equal to 200 billion hydrogen bombs, blasting a tidal wave of superheated charged particles at speeds of up to 6 million miles an hour.

It was one of the largest solar storms ever recorded, and it was aimed at earth.

They were some of the fastest, hottest and strongest storms ever measured, assaulting the earth.

The sun's energy forced space station astronauts to take cover in their most sheltered compartments. Lights went out, communication streams were cut, airliners scrambled for safety.

This really was a Hurricane of space storms.

Though no major damage was done, these storms were a stark reminder that we live at the constant mercy of the sun.

It controls all aspects of our lives: our climate, our food, our bodies.

We actually live inside the sun's atmosphere.

We, along with all the other planets, are greatly influenced.

But is its influence changing?

It's actually growing more powerful?

Might we lose its Protection from deadly cosmic rays at his boundary, where it's protecting us from the intergalactic winds?

That boundary is actually shrinking a bit.

Will our technology dependent society be able to handle another solar superstorm?

Sometimes these effects can be so severe that they're catastrophic.

In fact, it's like the parent, and all the planets are the children that are affected by its moods.

We need to know how it's going to evolve and how the changes that are always happening in the sun affect us here on earth.

The sun.

If we want to understand the universe and the stars that make up the universe, then it's important to study the one that's closest to us.

We've Learned more about the sun in the past 40 or 50 years than in all of recorded history.

This golden age of exploration was kicked off by a unique mission that gave us close up images of our sun from above our atmosphere.

In 1973, Skylab became the first manned space station.

It sent back images of the sun clearer than anything taken from earth.

The Skylab mission was one of the very first laboratories that was dedicated just for the research and study of the sun.

In some ways, it's kind of the grandfather of the current missions today.

Right now, a fleet of about 20 space probes scan and study the sun in ways we never imagined even 30 years ago.

By studying the sun from the Vantage of space, we can see it in a whole new light.

Using different light wavelengths, including X ray and extreme ultraviolet, we can peel back its layers and begin to understand how and why the sun acts the way it does.

Different wavelengths mean different temperatures and different structures are more visible in different wavelengths than in others.

Our robotic space probes never stop watching the sun.

With their help, scientists are working out the big questions about our star, and we already know a lot.

The sun is one of over 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, but it is our closest, at 93 million miles away from earth, almost the same distance as 4,000 trips around the globe- and despite that distance, its light only takes eight minutes to reach earth.

It is only four and a half billion years into its nearly 10 to 11 billion year lifespan, and though technically a medium sized star called a dwarf, it is enormous: 900,000 miles across and, if hollowed out, 1.3 million Earth sized planets could fit inside.

The sun accounts for 99.8% of the mass in the solar system and it weighs 300,000 times more than the earth.

It is made up almost entirely of a superheated form of electrified and magnetized gas called plasmas. The Sun packs enough gravitational pull to keep the planets from spinning off into space and, as Copernicus first suggested, it rules the center of our solar system with a gravitational iron fist. Copernicus model, in which he placed the sun in the middle of the solar system, with all the planets going around it instead of everything going around the earth, was a giant paradigm shift.

It meant that the sun is the most important thing in the solar system.

It meant that we really should understand the sun.

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