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Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 4:43 PM

I was watching a movie (yes, Hollywood fiction) that showed the sun making a huge burst of energy or spike. It hit earth, destroyed the ozone layer and burned the planet.

The main character in the movie stated that radiation would penetrate even the deepest mine shafts and underground installations.....basically the movie ended with earth being burned up and turned into a revolving desert.

Its Hollywood, OK? But aside from that , could anyone tell me if this could happen and what exactly would it be from the sun that could "cook" earth?

Just curious........Smitty

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#1

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 7:09 PM

Anything can happen. So just put on your shades and enjoy the ride!

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#2

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 8:59 PM

Unlikely but totally plausible! The sun has more than enough energy to be able to vaporize the whole earth in a second or two and not even start to dim. The cosmic forces at play are so far beyond our comprehension we cant even Begin to fully understand them.

A puff of smoke in the solar wind is about what we would be if the sun so willed it!

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 9:07 PM

I agree - this doesn't exactly answer the question, but puts things in perspective:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyqnBYw3RkE

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 10:53 PM

GA, I agree.

BUT; 'if the sun so willed it!' is a bit too close for me. The Universal Mechanism is far beyond our comprehension as you have said. Now I'm going farther out than this Galaxy (like a grain of sand) can manifest in this reality.

(There are those who keep saying 'Impossible', Fμ©∫' em,)

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#19
In reply to #2

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 8:24 AM

TCMTech,

Come on.............you folks in Minot are not allowed to see sunshine.....just sneaux and black ice!

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#33
In reply to #19

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 5:09 PM

I am not sure what sneaux is?

We got loads of snow though!

Yea we do see the sun some times though. its sort of like when the wind stops blowing too. It make use real uneasy and jumpy. We are not used to it being its such a rare occurrence, sort of a blue moon type event.

Its often talked about by the old timers but mostly considered a myth or folk lore legend.

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#38
In reply to #33

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 6:06 PM

SNEAUX:

A .25" layer of white stuff that falls in the Bayou Country every 20 years or so . It makes the state police stop all traffic 'cause nobody down here except the Northern transplants ( which the federal government says we can no longer call Yankees) know how to drive in it without killing somebody.

sa va?

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#48
In reply to #38

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/14/2009 8:49 AM

I thought Yankees wore that name with pride...They do in Texas anyway...around here anyone north of the Red River is considered a Yankee... No offense to my transplanted bretheren...

I assume you have a good recipe for etouffee?

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#4

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 10:11 PM

No.

No CME (coronal mass ejection) from the Sun could do that. At worst is would disrupt satellites and communications. It may take down some power grids. Sometime around 1989 such an event knocked out a large section of the Canadian power grid. It was one of the worst in recorded history. The worst was in the 1800's, but no power grids existed then. In North America the aurora was so bright you could read at night by the light!

The worst case scenario would be when the Sun's and Earth's magnetic fields are anti-parallel and a huge CME was fired at us, the Earth's and Sun's magnetic fields could momentarily merge. When this happens something amazing will occur. It is called an aurora. Not too many years ago we had such an event and some people as far south as Florida saw the Northern Lights. I was in Ohio at the time and it was quite pronounced. I think I took pictures of that, but I would have to dig those out.

Our sun is very stable, so violent eruptions of extinction proportions are very, very, very, unlikely. However, we did get to witness a scary event over 130 light years away where a red giant star had a massive solar flare (and corresponding x-ray emission) of killer proportions. The equivalent energy released was about 500 million-trillion atomic bombs. That would have roasted us like a marshmallow in a steel forge. That will not happen here.

Finally, x-rays can not penetrate that far into rock and earth.

The only thing worse than Hollywood's silliness when it comes to science facts is the gullibility of the audience.

For this reason we don't have a TV. I might recommend turning off the TV and picking up a good book. If enough people did this we might be able to throw off the yoke of ignorance... Umm... Now I am living in a fantasy world.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/10/2009 11:06 PM

"That will not happen here."

Stand at the edge of the abyss, and tell me what won't happen, here or anywhere else.

PS; Off topic.

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#14
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Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 7:52 AM

The reason "That will not happen here..." is simply due to mass. Our sun does not have enough stellar mass to go nova. You need a star that has at least 4 to 5 solar masses in size to be a candidate for a nova. 1 solar mass is the size of our sun. Our sun's fate will be more of a red giant; swelling in size considerably.

There is some debate about exactly how large that swelling will be and whether it will envelope Earth. Regardless, life will probably be exterminated before that time as the sun goes through its terminal phases.

In the mean time our sun is in a steady state mode that should last another 4 to 6 billion years, which is far longer than Social Security checks will likely last.

Here is an interesting short video to give you a perspective of sizes of our planets, sun, and some other stars in our neighborhood. Remember, stars that are greater than 4 or so solar masses are candidates for an explosive end. Novas are directly responsible for life in the universe. When a star explodes it releases huge amounts of heavy elements, which form the molecules that seed life. The resulting shock waves also contribute to planetary formation and new solar systems.

You can turn off the audio on this one...(after all, there is no sound in space :) )

Size of our Earth

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 8:02 AM

AH,

Thank you again. I'll bet you have or have had a career in Astro Physics?

Smitty

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#31
In reply to #16

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:58 PM

No, started out as an astro degree the first year, finished with a 4.0 pre-med, then jumped into electrical engineering at the end. So it goes. ;-)

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#37
In reply to #31

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 6:01 PM

That is soooo far past anything I've ever accomplished.

Smitty

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#18
In reply to #14

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 8:18 AM

AH,

That was a very enlightening video. Where is the Giant VY Majoris located in the universe...how far away you think?

Smitty

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#30
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Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:56 PM
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#40
In reply to #14

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 6:56 PM

Good video AH. Yep, there are Galaxies like grains of sand on a beach. And the Sol-centrists are stuck in the mud of recalcitrance. Now imagine if you will that what we percieve is slap in the middle of our perception, then infinity takes on another dimension.

God washes her hair, while we circle the drain. Yeee Haaa!

Not likely the sun will finish us. There's a lot of stuff flying around 'out there'. All we are is ducks in the wind. Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes the bear eats you.

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#8
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Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 12:20 AM

Excellent answer! You might want to explain to him what is a "mass ejection" is and how one is created.

By the way, I remember that really big solar event a few years back. I live in Silicon Valley where stars are seldom seen, yet I could see the aurora overhead very clearly!!!

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#9
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Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 1:17 AM

Worst luck would be when CME would happen in the midst of the earths magnet reversal

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:12 AM

Good news! We're pretty much in the middle of one. There's a huge area off the coast of Africa that's North oriented. Turns out the poles never collapse. Instead, the Earth's magnetic field first breaks up into multiple North and South poles that eventually converge.

As for the 8000 light years - I think you're talking about the stars known as gamma-ray bursters... You suck it within 1000 light years, and damage tapers off quickly after that, but you're probably right in that we'd get some really funky sunburns. Good thing we live in a fairly ho-hum area of the Galaxy.

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#21
In reply to #12

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 12:24 PM

This is the first and only information that makes sense with respect to "magnetic filed reversal" ofour Earth.

So this breakup into smaller and more poles -i assume- is equivalent to the circulation of the electrically conducting or magnetic (or both) streams of hot and dense material in Earths amntle and ? core.

This is like low Reynolds number vorticity, stable for some time and then rearrahnging.

Much more likely than total fading and regeneration of the magnetic field!

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#10
In reply to #4

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 1:48 AM

Hello Anonymous Hero:

It's Friday night (typical night for viewing horror movies) and we need to leave some room for the Hollywood horror stories. I don't believe Hollywood's made a movie about it yet, and I'm sure when they do they'll be able to figure out some way to save the Earth, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that a regular old supernova within 30 light years or so could cause devastation similar to that described in the original posters question.

I also came across a term that was new to me , hypernova ( there is a candidate within 8000 ly)a hypernova could similarly lead to , well at least some pretty severe sunburns, if it happened to be in our cosmic backyard and 8000 ly is considered our backyard.

Of course the problem with reading things nowadays is I forget where, however you seem to be in the know, so give them a break if this is true, we need to leave them something to write about.

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#15
In reply to #4

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 8:00 AM

AH,

Your answer sounds very sceintific and thought out. Thank you.

A few added points;

I am NOT that guillible. I simply asked a question which you gave a very good answer.

Its hurricane season and we live 24 miles inland.... anyone who does not have TV with a weather station this time of year will wind up like those folks in New Orleans after Katrina....waiting for someone else to rescue them. They do not mail announcements of TD's .

I said I watched a movie........... not TV. TV channels show very little entertainment anymore.

Thank you again for a scientific answer, after the DVD movie which featured MIT by the way , I was just curious.

I am sure you meant no harm and I mean no foul....sa va bien mon amis?

Smitty

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#20
In reply to #15

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 11:53 AM

Hello Smitty:
I love sci-fi, asking a question about something you've seen in a movie hardly implies to me that you're gullible, taking it as fact would be gullible.

Good science fiction, or for that matter even some of the more melodramatic cheesy stuff, whether written or on the movie screen if anything leaves you with something to think about.

It is reputed that a number of engineers became interested in engineering watching Star Trek and idolizing Scotty, in their youth.

In contrast real damage is done in the popular press, no matter what the form of media, by misrepresentation, sensationalism, inaccurate reporting, and greed.

Several times I have been watching the news or reading something in print, and found their statements to be completely inaccurate, given the fact that there are far more subjects that I know little or nothing about, then areas that I am well informed in, causes me to wonder just how much I've accepted as a fact, that really isn't.

Certainly the scientific community is no exception, two fairly recent examples would be the medical community and silicone implants, it was was eventually discovered that the doctor that supposedly did the research had actually done none (his notes were conveniently lost in an office fire).

Also a published study on the effects of electromagnetic radiation from high tension power lines, done by respectable scientists that intentionally sensationalizes results, he was eventually was prohibited from publishing for a few years.

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#32
In reply to #15

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 5:02 PM

8 miles inland just south of Cape Canaveral, so I know what you mean. No offense intended, just Hollywood gets under my skin. You have a cast of people that have a career living in non-reality that try to tell the rest of the world how we should live in the real world.

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#34
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Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 5:23 PM

You have a cast of people that have a career living in non-reality that try to tell the rest of the world how we should live in the real world.

Standard issue California practice.

We get the occasional California nuts up here in ND trying to tell us multi generation long farmers and ranchers how to grow basic crops and raise cattle since having a window garden or a rat dog poodle is basically just the smaller version of farming or livestock management.

Many of the farmers and ranchers here and in other parts of the country were the ones who wrote the books literally on green farming and ranching practices decades ago!

What the big city nuts try to ram down our throats is the old concepts that were not efficient or eco friendly enough by our standards a decade or two ago!

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#39
In reply to #34

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 6:15 PM

hmmm... you sound like you've had your share of run ins with ag-o-crats?

Smitty

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#36
In reply to #32

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 5:55 PM

AH,

ce bon my friend.

I know what you mean. I lost a job a few years ago for a marine fisheries project to a guy who hired a computer wiz . I showed up with a VCR tape of the actual gear in use...they had the most beautiful Disney-like video of the "intended to be built" gear.

  • Current runing the wrong way.
  • Foam cell surface floats at 1000M
  • fish swimming the wrong direction.
  • Fish blowing bubbles at 1000M
  • tow bridles and Tom weights with no curvature at 4000M
  • ...on and on and on...

It was so pretty I wanted to hire on with them...musak...sea gulls' squawking in the back ground .... I was mesmerized. So were the customers and the IT guys got the job!

I well understand your point about Hollywood and these movies. I was just curious about this one .

Take care and thank you again.

Smitty

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#42
In reply to #4

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/13/2009 11:32 AM

OFF TOPIC

AH says: "For this reason we don't have a TV. I might recommend turning off the TV and picking up a good book. If enough people did this we might be able to throw off the yoke of ignorance... Umm... Now I am living in a fantasy world."

TV is a vast wasteland and I find little harm in owning one. What irritates me is that I have to pay for 200 channels just to utilize the 2-3 that I do. I'm fond of LinkTV, Turner Classic Movies, and Fox Movie Channel. LinkTV's Democracy Now at least covers stories that will never see the light of day on any other "news" channel. I don't always agree with the slant of the coverage but at least I am aware of the subject afterwords, which I would be ignorant of otherwise. LinkTV also airs some interesting documentaries, etc.

The 2 mentioned movie channels are commercial-free and I tape 3-4 movies a month for later viewing -- only up until now I don't find the time to go back and watch them. Just like the 7,000+ books I've accumulated over a lifetime, I hope to enjoy some of them in retirement.


(P.S. - I wish somebody would do something about the way the post editor works. It's pretty maddening to have to go back several times to diddle with extra line returns and some that disappear. Then the carat symbols that appear from nowhere are meddlesom, too.)

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/13/2009 12:23 PM

"(P.S. -..."

Sounds like you are using Safari. Try Firefox!

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#44
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Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/13/2009 1:08 PM

Yes. I wish the moderators would look into supporting Safari, too.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/13/2009 1:27 PM

Right! Especially since version 4 came out. I've now had more than one PC user tell me it's their favorite browser (they know I'm a Mac user). It's now been at least a couple of years since one of the CR4 staff told me they tried, but couldn't get Safari to work. Perhaps it's time they tried again. I'm virtually certain that Apple would help.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/13/2009 1:49 PM

FireFox is also written for Linux and Macs??? Not just Windows.

You can download a copy in your preferred language from here:-

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all.html

Forget Safari and its problems, try the best Browser of all on the Computer of your choice......!

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#50
In reply to #47

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/14/2009 2:33 PM

Yep! I've been using mostly Firefox on my Macs for around three years now. However, once in a while, I do find something that works better in Safari.

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#51
In reply to #42

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/15/2009 3:23 AM

OFF TOPIC

I understand why you are enamoured of Democracy Now.

But be aware that they exist in large part as the result of stealing channel time and access from those local public access studios and systems were meant to benefit.

Unfortunately, the managers of such public access channels are whores who seek to present polished and finished productions to enlarge and benefit their own reputations and industry credits, the creation of which is usually beyond their meager budgets, and so they are easily persuaded to give channel time to Democracy Now.

That means that Democracy Now exists by stealing the channel time that ought to be available under First Amendment concepts to local producers on a first come, first served basis.

Sorry to blow up illusions but explained I think the matter speaks for itself.

Democracy Now is anything but taken from the aspect of local producers denied.

j.

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#49
In reply to #4

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/14/2009 8:53 AM

Good Stuff! I remember the aurora. My sister and I argued for an hour whether it was clouds or some kind of cosmic event. Sure enough the weather man verified it as an aurora...

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#7

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 12:09 AM

The only radiation coming from the sun that goes into mines is neutrinos. They pass through everything, so are no problem. In a few billion years the sun will become a red giant and will envelop the earth, cooking it good. Until then, don't worry.

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#11

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:07 AM

If it ever happens, we will all be dead so quickly, we will not notice the change.....or feel the pain!!

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:12 AM

Not true!

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#22
In reply to #13

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 12:29 PM

May be true if radiation is very intense.

Merging of two neutron stars or two black holes - not very likely but possible and predicted to take place in our galaxy in around 80 Myears - is said to produce enough intense radiation to burn us completely within 1 to 2 days.

(Not my calculation but from an expert in tehoretical astrophysics.)

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#23
In reply to #11

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 12:48 PM

Hello Andy:

I'm not sure whether your timetable for our demise is correct, certainly your attitude is, people get all worked up about disaster scenarios, our numbers already in the hat, it is just waiting to be pulled.

While reading your post I thought a comment Carl Sagan made at the end of a episodes of Cosmos dealing with the death of our Sun, and of course our planet.

A female student approached him after he gave a similar lecture, and asked whether he had said the sun would expire in 5 million years or 5 billion years.

When he answered 5 billion years, the student sighed with relief, she said for a moment I thought you said 5 million years.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 1:01 PM

Good and funny post. Keep up the good work!!

I am certainly not going to worry myself about such things, no point!!!!

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#17

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 8:12 AM

OK,

Educate a man who has looked at more compasses than gps'.........

How does this MULTIPLE MAGNETIC POLE thing work?

Now I'm real curious............

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#25
In reply to #17

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 2:15 PM
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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 3:18 PM

Correct me here if I misunderstand.

The compass I had in my boat, a basic water filled brass pivoting type, would point to a location as Magnetic North in 1990.

Today, 2009, that spot has moved a few degrees more or less?

Smitty

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:18 PM

Yes. One of the articles shows a map of the 'wandering' of the north pole. I think that for all we know this type of wandering may be normal even in the long periods between pole reversals. But we may be heading into a reversal period now, a process we don't know much about, but both articles suggest that during the transition multiple 'north' and 'south' poles may form. A new north pole may be opening up for business in a neighborhood near you. At that point your magnetic compass will be a lot less useful.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:48 PM

Well, the days of having to navigate old school are gone for sure now.

Thank you for the info..........I learn so much on this site. I've been laid up for a while and this gives me some time to catch up on learning..........old dog, new tricks?

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#29
In reply to #26

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 4:50 PM

Smitty,

"The compass I had in my boat, a basic water filled brass pivoting type,"

Not likely it was water filled. Probably oil or alcohol. If it was a good one, it probably came with 2 compensators. I kept mine, knowing that pole shift was inevitable. (It's about 3° different from when I was younger)

Check your rhumb line.

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#35
In reply to #29

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 5:44 PM

I never wanted to know or even ask what was the liquid in a compass. As long as it got me out in the Gulf where we wanted to go and back to the dock , who cared.

Simple things like that were of no interest to me back then. If they worked, so be it...if not... we went to plan B! I just did not have an inquisitive mind, like most of you all on here.

I guess that attitude is why i am so banged up today in my wiser years.

Thank you for filling the gap between then and now.

Smitty

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#41
In reply to #25

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/11/2009 11:25 PM

Really interesting links! The first works as expected, but the second points to the same site. Fortunately, cutting and pasting the second does work.

Does anyone have any links or more info on that African shift?

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#45

Re: Micro bursts from the sun

07/13/2009 1:18 PM

I have used FireFox for several years and several updates, very few problems. I am now on version 3.5.....no problems at all.....

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