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Old 08-10-2017, 04:13 AM
 
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So, ignoring the debate re: man made or not, I have a vague idea to put a Band-Aid on the planets rising temperature regardless of the cause...its mildly similar to another idea by a well-known scholar but I’ve no idea if its even feasible. Attach tethers to the SOHO with solar electro magnets spaced along the tethers and pulse them to keep a cloud of metal particles in position between the sun and earth. I’m thinking a titanium alloy that’s magnetic enough to work. The tethers wouldn’t probably be able to be long enough to give a full block to the whole planet but it could be large enough i would think to help somewhat I think. Am I crazy? If you don’t know too the SOHO maintains an orbit on a direct line between the earth and moon and its roughly halfway.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregongrl View Post
Attach tethers to the SOHO with solar electro magnets spaced along the tethers and pulse them to keep a cloud of metal particles in position between the sun and earth.
If your tethers fail and this cloud of metal particles becomes uncontrollable? I'm not so sure that putting a cloud of metal into space that requires constant manipulation is a good idea.

That said perhaps far off in the future clear solar panels tethered to earth that can allow variable amounts of sun. If you are going to block the sun you better have fail safe sytem and might as be useful as well.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
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This would actually make a good order-of-magnitude physics question. How much stuff would you need to put at L1 to make a dent in solar brightness. The answer is, unfortunately, quite a lot.

The SoHo satellite you're referencing sits at the Earth-Sun L1 point. That's a point between the Earth and Sun that actually orbits at the same orbital angular velocity around the Sun as the Earth does (because of Earth's gravity, not too important but interesting). The problem with L1 is that it is technically an unstable point, sort of like the top of a hill. For satellites this isn't a problem because they can execute orbits around L1 that for the most part keep them where they're supposed to be. Also, a satellite can't sit directly between the Earth and the Sun if we ever want to hear from it, because the sun is so bright it interferes with radio transmissions. That orbit, by design, keeps it out of the sun's direct line of sight, hence anything attached to SoHo probably wouldn't do much.

Let's ignore those extremely practical concerns and just calculate what would happen if put something at L1 and did our best to keep it stable. How big would it have to be to block out all the sun's light? This is an interesting question given the upcoming solar eclipse. L1 is about 1.5e9m (that's 1.5 million km) from Earth. The moon is about 3.8e8m (that's 384000 km). We know that the moon, which is about 3500 km in diameter, blocks the sunlight in a tiny swath of the Earth. We can do some geometry at L1. The sun is about 100 times bigger in diameter than the Earth. Draw a trapezoid with the Earth as the small side and the Sun as the big side and that will tell us exactly how big a shade would need to be to completely block the sun. It is about 1.5e9m from us and we're about 1.5e11m from the Sun, a ratio of about 100. Those two factors of 100 mean that the diameter of our Mr. Burns-style sun blocker would have to be about double the Earth's diameter (of 12700km, or 40000km/pi).

That's huge! Like impossibly huge beyond all technology we are currently capable of. Of course, we don't need to block the whole sun (that would make global warming look like a great alternative). How much would we want to block to cool the planet? Let's say 1%. That would still be a mirror 20% of the Earth's diameter.
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:16 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
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Besides the improbable logistics of accomplishing such a feat, there's always the problem of unintended consequences when attempting to create changes in complex natural systems. We are always necessarily ignorant of some details and cannot accurately predict outcomes, particularly when chaotic systems have such a propensity for bifurcation points.

I'm reminded of the case of the medieval Al Gore who astutely noted the correlation between the number of dogs & cats in a village and the number of cases of Black Death. Ignorant of Germ Theory and the relationship between carnivores, rats, lice and bacteria, he persuaded town elders to kill off the dogs & cats and of course, plague deaths increased. An Inconveniant Truth.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:07 AM
 
2,297 posts, read 1,311,905 times
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Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
If your tethers fail and this cloud of metal particles becomes uncontrollable? I'm not so sure that putting a cloud of metal into space that requires constant manipulation is a good idea.

That said perhaps far off in the future clear solar panels tethered to earth that can allow variable amounts of sun. If you are going to block the sun you better have fail safe sytem and might as be useful as well.

Putting huge number of metal particles into the atmosphere will probably cause environmental issues everywhere. How about just spraying some non transparent, relatively harmless bio degradable particles that just naturally decay in a day or so? Let's say something like non transparent "soap" bubbles. If this is sprayed whenever is the warmest part of the year in Antarctica, wouldn't they have some noticeable cooling effect?
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