We weren't going to post anything in the near future (unless some of our readers send us more delightful stories :)), but we've had a few emails yesterday and today, from people asking about the "magnetic portals" that supposedly have been discovered recently.
Magnetic portals connecting the Earth to the Sun - or flux transfer events - are not a new discovery. Their existence had been established by 2008.
What is new is that apparently a NASA-funded researcher from Iowa has found a way to chase them down. (We'll try and find a reliable source of information after sunset, when it cools down a little bit, all right? :))
This story has been making the rounds in the "alternative" media in the past 48 hours or so.
Predictably but irritatingly, most of these stories start with allusions to various science fiction films. Here is a good example, complete with videos.
This is only irritating because there is no logical continuity with what follows next - the description of these magnetic portals. In other words, there is no evident reason to jump to the conclusion that these magnetic portals would do any of those neat tricks we're familiar with from sci-fi films - like wormholing us to other universes, or serve as shortcuts for extraterrestrial holiday-makers to and from Earth.
What DO those magnetic portals do?
Well, for one thing, they form every eight minutes, and that's enough to seriously tickle my mind. Like, why EIGHT? What happens or ceases to happen during those eight minutes?
The implications of their activity, I don't yet understand.
Maybe you will.
Here is the original NASA text from 2008:
During the time it takes you to read this article, something will happen high overhead that until recently many scientists didn't believe in. A magnetic portal will open, linking Earth to the sun 93 million miles away. Tons of high-energy particles may flow through the opening before it closes again, around the time you reach the end of the page.
Read the rest of it here.