Guest post by Jen: What's the most interesting place in the solar system?

Another post for the most interesting series, in which you tell me where's the place to be in our solar system and why. Find out more here, then get writing on your own contribution! This time it's by Jen (a different one to the writer of the previous post, I swear!)

This is a really interesting question, and I have had to take some time to think about it. There are so many things that are important and interesting in the solar system, but ultimately for me it is the sun.

This stems from a few things. I love stars, looking at stars and imagining what they are like. Since the sun is our very own star, I think this choice makes sense.

As a child we studied the solar system in primary school and I was assigned to research the sun. By research I mean look at pretty pictures and write about what I could see as I was only about 6. But even from that age I could understand that the sun was an awesome object and was a vital aspect to this solar system. The though of solar flares and sun spots on a extremely hot ball millions of miles away will intrigue any child (or it should).

The sun is central to everything in the solar system (quite literally). Without it the earth or any of the other objects would not act in the way they do (or even exist). We are so reliant on the sun. It is the earth´s position from the sun that has been attributed to be one of the reasons that earth has the conditions that it does. Conditions which are suitable for life, and hence that we even exist.

Having lived with a Physicist for many years I have had the opportunity to fuel this interest somewhat. A few years ago one of the lecturers gave a talk to the local astronomy society about his trip to Libya to view the solar eclipse. He talked about the sun, looking at the sun from earth and what it was like to view the full solar eclipse. He talked with great enthusiasm about the patterns of the sun, and its movements alongside other planets in the solar system as well as showing us wonderful pictures of the eclipse. I remember witnessing a partial solar eclipse some years ago and the event was somewhat eerie. The light went away as the sun was interrupted by the moon, it became quite cold and plant life closed over. In a matter of minutes, with reduced access to the sun the planets environment had changed. This was fascinating.

In 2010, I attended the Very Early Career Women in Physics Award Event at the Institute of Physics as a friend of mine was nominated (and actually won). At this event there was a talk given by Dr. Helen Mason from the University of Cambridge. She talked about her interest in the sun and some of the research she has carried out. This was interesting and inspiring. She talked about the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) which monitored the solar atmosphere, solar winds and other solar phenomenon in order to develop the understanding of the interaction of the Sun with the earth.

These are just two of the recent events which have fuelled this interest. Without the sun we would not exist, therefore I think it is the most important and interesting part of our solar system.

Many thanks to Jen! As for the rest of you; what do you think is the most interesting thing in our solar system? Write me a guest post explaining what and why, and I'll host it here: I want to hear from YOU. I'll post everyone's under the tag 'most interesting', and you can read the original post here.


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