sun, the: inferno in the sky

programme information


1 x 60'

Production Company

Terra Mater Factual Studios





Episode Information

At first glance, our sun seems quiet – but it isn't. It's an incredibly dynamic place, a world of extremes… On July 23rd, 2012, a massive eruption on the sun hurls a colossal cloud of solar matter into space. It’s the most severe sunstorm in 150 years. Fortunately, the Earth is not in the direct path of this solar ejection. But it’s only a matter of time before a violent solar storm hits us. When these clouds of charged matter reach our planet, they can wreak havoc in electrical systems. Previous sunstorms have resulted in large-scale power outages and the total loss of satellites. An important indicator for solar activity is sunspots – darker areas that are a little cooler than the rest of the sun’s surface. Scientists at the Kanzelhoehe Solar Observatory in Carinthia, Austria, monitor sunspots every day. They send their observations to the World Data Centre of the Sunspot Index in Bruxelles, where other experts are trying to predict the sun’s behaviour so they can forecast space weather. ‘The Sun – Inferno in the Sky’, presents the latest developments in solar science and offers fresh, unexpected and even controversial insights into the work of scientists all around the world.

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