I've spent the past few days on the road talking (mostly) to young people. Many of these conversations have revolved around the difference between education and credentialism. Within that conversation is still another idea--the discomfiting nature of historical study. That is to say, the idea that history was not made to make us feel good, or to raise our self-esteem. On the contrary, an humble engagement with history--one not rooted in opportunism--is, initially, going to be a downer.
Last summer, an eruption on the sun's surface scored a solar weather hat trick, racking up all three of the major phenomenon scientists observe: a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection (CME), and coronal rain, "complex moving structures in association with changes in magnetic field lines that loop up into the sun's atmosphere," NASA explains. The solar flare in the video is not massive, by the sun's standards, but "moderately powerful," as NASA calls it. But what makes the show special is the coronal rain, charged plasma slowly dripping in fiery loops along the sun's magnetic fields.