Awesomely beautiful images of a star, our sun:
- Put aside your knowledge that the sun is hot – with associations of our being burned. These are the normal temps of the sun, and the processes that exist in these temp ranges. The nuclear fusion engine deep in a star is a “factory” producing atom of higher atomic weight. When stars die, they distribute this new chemistry to the galaxy.
- In high school I frequently pointed my 6 foot, home made telescope at the sun, with the image projected on a large poster board and observed the movement of sun spots from day to day.
- My Antarctic research on the Aurora demonstrated that the movement of auroral forms is our sun drawing on our sky.
What is life? We are learning about carbon based molecular life in Gaia. Is Gaia itself alive? Depends on our definition of the process we call living. James Greer Miller in his opus “Living Systems” defines “life” as holarchies (nested hierarchies), systems-within-systems-within-systems (holons). He traces details from the single biological cell to global humankind. Another holarchy could be traced from the atom to the cell, through three distinct levels of “molecule”. The bead molecule, actually a multi-nucleated atom, where atomic physics applies. Sugar and the fundamental bead for DNA and proteins, nucleic and amino acids are the fundamental beads of life on Earth. There are chain molecules (RNA, DNA, proteins) and molecular textures (organelles). The science of these three types of “molecule” are as different as the sciences of a plant, a plateau, and a planet.
Plasmas, the fourth state of matter, of which is the material of stars, are capable of holarchical organization. Structures can form in plasma and sustain their form for periods (e.g., sunspots, flares). Whether stars have minds awaits our knowing more about how carbon based life have minds. We don’t yet observe finer details within the macro phenomena we observe on the sun. Stars have a life-span, but they don’t reproduce other stars. It is a matter of human choice whether reproduction is a requirement for a system to be characterized as alive. The living nature of galaxies and the whole universe remains an open query.
Intentional creativity, aesthetic and ethical appreciation, and love bonds are emergent phenomenon in living systems. The causal mechanism model for systems is inadequate to account for this emergence.
The life span of a star includes its initial gas/particulate cloud condensing and the production of planetary systems. Stars have plasma atmospheres that spread throughout their planetary systems. Planetary systems may be viewed as a form of “reproduction”. Radiation from the sun, both light/heat and the solar wind of plasma are significant “environments” for planets. It is popular to point out the we humans are made from star dust, or more specifically solar dust. A product of this solar dust is now a major transformative force on a whole planet: the Anthropocene.