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THE INFLUENCE OF THE SUN ON HUMAN AFFAIRS BY Charles C. Warren, F.R.C. Director The Rosicrucian Planetarium and Science Museum

From the dawn of time, the Sun has been the most important fact of life in the history of man. Beyond the basic physical dependency of all living things on the existence of the Sun, man's psychological nature has been, for centuries without number, solar oriented. Today, science is discovering new information that augments our understanding of the solar impact on man. While innumerable volumes of scientific data exist detailing the physical characteristics of the Sun, the salient facts can be described in a few pages. The Sun is a star the nearest one to us at a distance of 92.957 million miles. Compared to other stars, our Sun is a small, rather ordinary, yellow star well away from the center of our galaxy, the familiar Milky Way. The age of the Sun is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years. With an estimated life expectancy of some 10 to 15 billion years, our Sun has lived about a third of its life. After its turbulent birth, which took some 500 million years, our star settled down into the main sequence of its life as a great atomic furnace converting 650 million tons of hydrogen gas into 646 million tons of helium gas each s e c o n d . In the process of nuclear reaction, our Sun loses some 4 million tons of its mass each second as heat, light, and other forms of radiation. These radiations make life pos sible on our planet. In size, the Sun has a diameter of some 866 thousand miles equal to some 109 diameters of the Earth and its surface area is 2 trillion square miles, which is roughly 12 thousand times greater than the sur face of our planet. In volume, our star is large enough to contain 1300 thousand objects the size of our Earth. The composition of the Sun contains elements similar to those we find on Earth: hydrogen, helium, calcium, iron, etc. However, these elements only exist as superheated vaporous gases. Astronomers have structured the Sun into four principal divisions. The primary underlying area is called the photosphere or light sphere. This is the dazzlingly brilliant area we see when we look toward the Sun. Above this area is the Sun's atmosphere, which is divided into the next two principal parts. The first is composed of the heavier gases (iron, calcium, sodium, and so on) and is termed the reversing layer since its spectral lines are not bright but appear on instru ments as dark lines.

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The second part of the Sun's atmosphere overlaying the zone of heavier elements is the chromosphere (color sphere) composed of the lighter gases such as hydrogen and helium. From this layer erupt the prominences the great tongues of flaming gases that our star pours out into space for hundreds of thousands of miles. The fourth division is the beautiful corona (crown), the lustrous pearly-white aura of light that becomes visible to us only during a solar eclipse when the Moon shields the brilliance of the solar disk. In some epoch of time in the far future, our star will undergo some startling changes as it approaches old age. As the Sun begins to exhaust its available supply of hydrogen gas, the outer layers of the Sun will begin to cool slightly and to expand. Our Sun will change from a small, yellow star into a red giant. As the burning gas expands through space, our Earth and all the other planets will be burned up. And, finally, our Sun will contract into a very small and very hot star called a white dwarf. Currently, our star drifts through the vastness of the cosmos with its family of nine major planets with their thirty-two satellites or moons, hundreds of planetoids and comets, thousands of asteroids, and billions of particles of metal and stone. Within the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system is moving toward the constellation of Lyra, the Lyre, at a speed of some twelve miles per second. It is in a sense our celestial goal. Having briefly described our day star, we must now examine our own planet before we detail the Sun's effects on man. The Earth is a giant ball floating in space that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 66 sextillion tons; yet, it is one of the smaller planets in the solar system. The Earth orbits the Sun once every 365.25 days. At the same time, it is turning on its axis once every twenty-three hours, fifty-six minutes, and four seconds. The axis of the Earth is the imaginary line we draw through the center of the planet from the North Pole to the South Pole. Where Mars is called the "Red Planet," the Earth could be termed the "Blue Planet" from the vast expanse of water that covers more than three-quarters of our globe. Rising above the level of the oceans are the continental land masses and myriad islands. Our world is sur rounded by an atmosphere of gases a thousand miles deep that contain primarily nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, as well as minor amounts of argon, neon, and other rare gases. The atmosphere screens much of the direct energy of the Sun from directly striking the Earth. In fact, up to 42 percent of the radia tion of the Sun is reflected back into space. Around 43 percent of the radiation is absorbed by the Earth and the remainder of 15 percent is absorbed by the atmosphere itself. The presence or absence of sunlight

acts like a giant spoon mixing the atmosphere, causing the majority of weather phenomena we experience. Exploration of the Earth from space has revealed another important thing about our planet. In addition to the atmosphere, the Earth is surrounded by a magnetosphere. We can think of the Earth as a giant magnet with its fields of force extending thousands of miles into space. In the late 1950's, the Explorer series of unmanned space craft were orbited around the Earth to transmit back to Earth information con cerning radiation belts. The belts of radiation around the Earth are formed by electrons and protons trapped in the Earth's magnetic field and extend from 800 to 40,000 miles above the Earth. Named after their discoverer in 1958, we call these zones the Van Allen Radiation Belts. Through radiation studies the concept has developed that is termed the Solar Wind; that is, during periods of solar flares, strong blasts of gas leave the Sun. The gas is ionized or electrically charged. When it enters our planet's magnetic field the gas pushes the particles in the Van Allen Belts out behind the Earth, forming a tail. These same solar flares also produce a magnetic field which grows with the flares, assuming a long bottle shape. As long as the gases outside the bottle are undisturbed, everything remains normal. However, should they enter the area of the bottle, they are accelerated by the magnetic field and reach very high speeds. On occasion, the bottle reaches all the w a y some 93 million miles from the Sun to the Earth. When this happens the Earth's magnetic field is disturbed. The result is a m a g netic storm that may disrupt the weather and cause interference with radio communications. Sensitive receivers pick up what is termed whistlers. The magnetic storm may also cause a display of the Auroras; that is, in the upper regions of our atmosphere events take place similar to those occuring in a neon light. Rarified gases stimulated by electri cal particles cause a light display of great beauty. Since the elec trical energy involved is stronger at the North and South Poles of the Earth, the Auroras occur most frequently in those areas. The energy reaching the Earth from the Sun is not constant and is, in fact, quite cyclical. An important key to the solar cycle is to be found in observations and measurements of sunspots. Sunspots are areas of turbulence that appear on the surface of the Sun. In size, they vary from tiny specks up to giants 90,000 miles across. One particular group of sunspots that rated the undivided attention of astronomers occurred on April 7, 1947, and was photographed at the Palomar Observa tory in Southern California. This group is the largest ever observed. The entire group extended over 175,000 miles, while the largest single spot covered an area of 6 billion square miles.

The sunspots are the result of tremendous convection currents rising from the interior of the solar furnace to erupt out onto the surface. While the surface averages some 11,000 degrees in temperature, the sunspots are usually some 3,000 degrees cooler. The sunspots drift across the face of the Sun changing in size and shape from day to day. Some disappear after a day or two, but others have been noted to remain as long as 14 days. This apparent crossing is due to the Sun's rota tion. The number of spots recorded vary from a few each year to as many as 150 in one day. They occur in cycles, the periods between maximum observances averaging some 11.2 years. The solar radiation reaching the Earth seems to follow this pattern of 11.2 years. During years of maximum activity, there is an apprecia ble increase in auroral displays. Whenever activity on the Sun is observed to increase or when there is a noticeable rise in the static interference with radio and television broadcasting, observors will note it and watch for auroral displays a day or two later. Having discussed the Sun and having touched briefly on the Earth and its relationship to the Sun, we can now turn to the specific acts of the Sun that have a direct or indirect impact on man. As we mentioned previously, the warming effects of sunlight stimulate motion in great areas of our atmosphere. Conversely, the side of the Earth turned away from the Sun is losing heat. This warming and cooling sets up convec tion currents in the air that draw the air over the continents creating all the various aspects of weather that the world experiences: cold, dry air moving over the polar ice caps; hot, humid air in the tropics; and collisions of the two that generate tremendous storms, hurricanes, and ty ph oon s. The local weather of each area of the world, of course, influences crop production; that is, famine or plenty occur from a regular or irregular amount of precipitation and sunlight. The Sun's greatest impact then is on man's food supply. Also, the weather affects man's "creature comfort." In other words, extremes of heat and cold affect man's sensibilities, his physical comfort, and therefore his abilities to perform efficiently his various tasks. Meteoroligists (weather specialists) keep accurate records of solar activity and sunspots' occurrences to aid them in predicting future weather conditions. The kind of weather we have imprints itself on the world. The eleven year cycle of solar activity is stamped on nature. Studies of iceberg prevalence near the poles, tree ring formations, and even the quality of Burgundy wine (from the Bulletin Astronomique de F r an ce) all demonstrate a relationship to the S u n 's activities. On this same subject, an interesting study was compiled by an Italian scientist, Giorgio Piccardi, on v a r v e s , the many-layered deposits of sand or clay that form in calm waters such as lakes or bonds. Examination of varves (fossilized stratas in rocks of a sedi mentary nature) reveals the same general eleven-year cycle. Giorgio

Piccardi has determined the following cycles for the different epochs of time: Pre-Cambrian, 11.3 years; Higher Devonian, 11.4 years; Lower Carboniferous, 11.4 years; Eocene, 12 years; Oligocene, 11.5 years. So, for geological ages spanning hundreds of millions of years, the Sun has been controlling variations in water levels and the fertility cycles in nature as it does today. The same solar cycle of plus-or-minus eleven years is reflected in the physiology of man. In the early 1930's, Doctor Maki Takata of Japan perfected a technique to study the ovarian cycle in women. In the densely populated nation of Japan, the method had applications toward a system of population control. Basically, the technique called the "Takata reaction" chemically tested the organic colloid in blood serum called albumin. Through a series of treatments and reactive agents, the proper indices of flocculation were determined. The floccu lation index varied in relationship to the menstrual and ovarian cycles of women; on the other hand, the index for men remained constant. Then, gynecologists were warned in January, 1938, that the indices were varying rapidly and without explanation among patients, and the test was no longer a valid technique. Further, the variation was found among men! For 17 years, Takata labored to discover the cause of the failure of his discredited test. In 1951, he announced the results of his research. He found that blood serum followed the Sun's activities. His research indicated that the flocculation indices increased when sunspots reached the Sun's meridian on their path around the Sun; in other words, during the Sun's twenty-seven-day rotation on its axis, at periods when a maximum emission of waves and particles were radiated from the Sun, the blood serum of man reacted. Further, the German scientist N. Schulz, published findings in the Report of the Academy of Sciences J E the U . S .S .R . based on 120,000 measurements that estaETished an aEsolute relationship between the number of white cells in the blood to the number of sunspots occurring on the solar surface. Leukocyte, or white blood cell, formation so much a factor in Leukemia has opened the door to some possible research in order to determine the possibility of a relationship between solar activity and that dread disease, although the correlation is at this point purely speculative. A. L. Tchijewsky, Professor at the University of Moscow, made a study attempting to correlate historical epidemics with the eleven-year sunspot cycle. His work with diphtheria, typhus, cholera, and small pox caused him to conclude: "During the years when there are most sunspots, a greater number of epidemics always emerges in history." On a happier subject, scientists are investigating a solar relationship to births. A pediatrics specialist, Professor B. de Rudder, at the University of Frankfurt-am-Main, has statistical

support for a theory of hormone production and an annual cycle of pro creative power. Stronger children seem to result when they are con ceived at a time when procreative tendency is strongest; and his statistics indicate that the months of August and September just prior to the Autumnal Equinox are the high points of procreative tendency. The seasonal variation may be an inherited trait from our early ancestors who were more closely attuned to the rhythms of nature. Tra ditionally, we commonly think of the menstrual cycle of woman as being approximately twenty-eight days; and, historically, women are said to be ruled by the moon in reference to the fact that the lunar cycle is roughly of the same length. This was very likely man's first realization of what we now call the biological "timekeepers," that is, those little understood factors in insects and animals (man included) that perform certain rhythmic functions in relation to effects brought about by the Sun, Moon, and Earth. The migrations of rats, ants, birds, and lemmings come quickly to mind. Less well known is the fact that locusts (one of the tradi tional plagues) follow the cycle of sunspots; and sturgeons, as well, follow a massive cycle of reproduction and death in periods of 11 and 33 years. In man, we also find cyclical activity of a monumental character that reflects the same impetus that causes mass movement among creatures lower than man on the evolutionary scale. Professor Tchijewsky in a study outlining the panorama of history from 500 B.C. to A.D. 1900 and specifically detailing wars, revolutions, and mass population movements suggests that these may be compared to graphic data that follows solar activity. One of many interesting details he uncovered was the fact that British governments were particularly susceptible to a Cosmic push: between 1830 and 1930 a succession of governments occurred wh ere in Liberals gained power during peak years in sunspot activity and Conservative elements gained power during periods of minimal activity. The general thesis presented by Tchijewsky would tend to indicate that when the Sun is generating abnormal amounts of energy, mankind as a whole becomes "keyed up," irritable (in the pure sense of the word), or at least sufficiently aroused that it becomes amenable to stimulation that results in change: migration to new lands, war, revolution, changes in governmental priorities, and so forth. There is even some statisti cal data that suggests that the "bull" and "bear" markets of stock exchanges follow the same pattern. While, of course, great caution must be taken in pronouncing suggested correlations based on statistical sampling, nonetheless, it is an avenue of research that should be explored. More directly and closer to home, we find the Sun has a distinct effect on man due to ionization of the atmosphere. In the atmosphere

and the air we breathe are electrical particles gathered to the Earth from the Sun by our magnetic fields. These particles have either a positive charge or negative charge. The concentration of positively or negatively charged particles depends on weather conditions and, again, ultimately on the solar generator. The natural ionization of the air is augmented b y in a sense "ion generators" that are the result of our civilization: automobile exhaust, smoke, dust, and so on. This latter material causes a positive charge to be added to the molecules of air. On the whole it appears that negative ionization is healthful whereas positive ionization is detrimental to human health. It is unfortunate, but the healthful negative ions have a tendency to be attracted to clouds in the upper regions of our air; conversely, the positive ions cling closer to the earth. In low pressure situations where air currents are lacking, the positive ionization builds up. Rain, fog, and the "smog" of inversion layers situated over cities packed with their own ion generators create an intensity of positive ionization that is believed by many scientists to contribute heavily to a detrimental effect on the human organism. The so-called "killer-fogs" of London are one example of this. On November 4, 1952, several hundred sick people primarily those with lung disorders succumbed under circumstances that would indicate that the "killer-fog" alone was the prime cause of this disaster. It would seem then that man is an infinite receiver of Cosmic radiation and, in particular, solar radiation. Weather and ultimately food production, ionization, biological rhythm studies, blood cell formation, the "psychic epimemics" involving masses of people; all these point to the solar impact on man. And, as Professor Piccardi points out: "Only by understanding the mechanism which connects him to the Earth and sky will man be able to understand better his physical and psychic position in the universe today. In the context of the universe as it is, man will find his natural role."
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