A Great Leap of Faith

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Mesmerised by the wondrous spectacle of fiery looping rain on the Sun in the footage released by NASA, it takes more faith to believe such magnificence in the Universe just exists than to attribute it to a Supreme Designer.

  • Capturing three eruptive events on the sun: solar flare, coronal mass ejection, coronal rain
  • Dance of magnetic fields on the sun
  • Each second on video corresponds to six minutes of real time

Eruptive events on the sun can be wildly different. Some come just with a solar flare, some with an additional ejection of solar material called a coronal mass ejection (CME), and some with complex moving structures in association with changes in magnetic field lines that loop up into the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.

On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced all three. A moderately powerful solar flare exploded on the sun’s lower right-hand limb, sending out light and radiation. Next came a CME, which shot off to the right out into space. And then, the sun treated viewers to one of its dazzling magnetic displays – a phenomenon known as coronal rain.

Over the course of the next day, hot plasma in the corona cooled and condensed along strong magnetic fields in the region. Magnetic fields, themselves, are invisible, but the charged plasma is forced to move along the lines, showing up brightly in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 angstroms, which highlights material at a temperature of about 50,000 Kelvin. This plasma acts as a tracer, helping scientists watch the dance of magnetic fields on the sun, outlining the fields as it slowly falls back to the solar surface.

The footage in this video was collected by the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA instrument. SDO collected one frame every 12 seconds, and the movie plays at 30 frames per second, so each second in this video corresponds to 6 minutes of real time. The video covers 12:30 a.m. EDT to 10:00 p.m. EDT on July 19, 2012.

That the order and beauty of the universe and the complexity of the human biological system have specific design traits are already widely acknowledged, even by scientists.

The jury may be still out for those who question the existence of God, but when confronted by the magnificence of the Sun from the time-lapsed video, it is harder to believe that the cosmic extravaganza just existed and was not created. And if logic points to creation, then there must be a creator – which equates to God.

A verse comes to mind: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” – Psalm 53:1

Whether that is something to ponder on, we’ll leave you to explore matters of faith on your own terms. But we’ll add that you’ve got nothing to lose to give it some thought.