Mandrake’s scribblings: So. This mandrake got a new partner. It’s a monkey. This mandrake will let this monkey introduce itself when it wants. Just so you know, it will introduce new content other than chapters. Enjoy the chapter!
A dark skinned man sits in a soundproof studio. He wears an expensive headphones over his buzzcut hair. He attire is composed of a casual collared shirt and a pair of jeans complete with expensive branded sneakers. Laid in front of him are computer screens surrounded by various recording and broadcasting equipment. Hanging above him is a monitor screen showing an elaborate title display with the words ‘Starstuck with DJ Picus”
Picus: “Ahem. Hum.”
The DJ known as Picus clears his throat and adjusts his microphone stand. A trendy techno song has been playing for the last few minutes and is approaching its end. In the song’s last few seconds, he turns on his microphone and let iut his crisp, deep voice.
Picus: “Hello, hello. Welcome back to Starstruck. The podcast where stars come to shine and make an impact. I am your host, Picus.”
Picus checks the screen displaying the song and the volume of his broadcast.
Picus: “That was ‘Waiting for Suncreen’ by well-renowned DJ ‘A Beachie’. Such a good song. If you haven’t watched the video of this song, get on it after this show. Go on their Potatube channel ABeachieBEBO and watch it. A dog running with a tube of sunscreen to its master at the beach. Riveting stuff.”
Picus gestures to the staff outside the soundproof room. They give the ‘Okay’ sign and jogs away.
Picus: “Now, I know all of you have been waiting for this, but for those who are uninformed, I have a special star coming tonight.”
The studio staff return and gestures Picus about someone waiting outside. Picus nods and readjusts his seat.
Picus: “He is an astrophysicist who has taken the world of science and modern culture by storm. The star host of Cosmic Conversation. The ONE, the ONLY. Professor! Neil Denierre Tyler!”
The DJ plays the cheering and applause sound bite and turns to the door. Neil steps in beaming and waves his hands around. Picus claps as the professor sits down on a chair next to him. The staff adjusts his seat and microphone for him. They give a thumbs up and left the room.
Neil: “Thank you, Picus. Thank you for having me here.”
Picus: “Naw, thank you for coming. Our listeners have anticipating your arrival.”
Picus reaches over to shake Neil’s hand. Neil receives his hand and shakes it. Both men laugh happily.
Picus: “Now, I’m not sure if you’ve done, but have you looked up at the sky recently?”
Neil: “Picus, need I remind you, I am an astrophysicist.”
Neil: “A-hahahaha! Looking at the sky is my job. So I know what you mean.”
Picus: “Hehehe, yea. To sum it up, two days ago, the night sky changed spectacularly.”
Neil: “The night sky is covered in auroras. As far as the eye can see.”
Neil extends his arms outward to express his description. Picus nods in approval and brings up some pictures on his screen.
Picus: “I looking at some picyures posted online and look at this.”
He turns the monitor to Neil’s direction.
Picus: “Auroras. Seen above Los Angeles. And here. More of them. All over New York. All across the states. All across the world.”
Neil: “Truly, a unique sight to behold. So unique, you will very likely never see this happen ever again.”
Picus: “So alright, Professor. I have been waiting for it. Everyone has been waiting waiting for it. What is it? How did this happen?”
Neil: “Well, I’ll say the same thing all the scientists around the world has been saying. I don’t know.”
Picus: “You don’t know?”
Neil: “I don’t know. But, me and the scientific community have come to a consensus on two theories of how the auroras has spread across the sky.”
Picus: “Two theories?”
Neil: “Yes, two. Take note that these are just theories, so take it with a hint of skepticism.”
Picus: “Okay. So what are these theories?”
Neil: “First, let’s start with how auroras happen. The air in the thermosphere gets ionized by the Sun’s energy that converge at the poles. This is due to the Earth’s magnetic field.”
Neil moves his hands in a circle.
Neil: “It protects the Earth from the harmful radiation and channels it around the Earth. Some of it gets caught in the poles and that’s why there are auroras at the poles.”
Picus: “Okay. So auroras around the poles are just the Earth’s magnetic field doing it job in protecting us from the Sun’s radiation.”
Neil: “That’s right.”
Picus: “So what does it mean when this happen? The entire night sky full of auroras. What does it mean?”
Neil: “It means a whole lot of radiation is packed into the thermosphere. So much so that auroras begin to form in places far away from the poles.”
Picus: “How much radiation are we talking about?”
Neil: “A WHOLE lot of energy. You see, these auroras has been going for more than two days. That’s two days, non stop. The auroras doesn’t only show up at night. They are still there, even during the day. It’s just that they are outshined by the rays of our Sun.”
Picus: “Wow… That’s a lot of energy. So how much is it? Give us a number.”
Neil: “Oh, Picus… I don’t know. Gahahaha~ I don’t know. We have always compared large amounts of energy to the nuclear bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. But for something of this scale, I don’t think the Tzar Bomba is big enough for a comparison!”
Picus: “So much energy that the Tzar Bomba can’t measure up to it. That is… WOW.”
Neil: “It’s scary isn’t it? But don’t let the numbers scare you. It’s true that the amount of energy is unheard of. But this energy is spread out all across the Earth’s thermosphere that it’s basically harmless to us. It just goes to show how big our home planet really is.”
Picus: “I see. I see. So there’s no cause for worry. Lets enjoy the light show while it lasts. Thank you, professor. I’m sure some of our listeners are finally at ease.”
Neil: “I’m glad I could help.”
Picus: “Okay. Now that we know what auroras are and what causes them, how about it, Neil? What is the two theories behind the auroras in the sky?”
Neil: “Yes. It is without a doubt that the auroras is a space phenomenon and their cause originate from outer space. Both theories support that.”
Picus: “So it’s not about how they happen but where they come from?”
Neil: “Oh, we know how it happened. We are looking for where the energy came from. Now, the first theory. Is our Sun flaring up and releasing energy and radiation which struck the Earth’s magnetic field.”
Picus: “The Sun? Do you mean a solar flare? Or one of those- Uh… S… ME?”
Neil: “CME or Corona Mass Ejection.”
Picus: “Yea! Yea! One if those. Is that it?”
Neil: “Well, no, Picus. Nothing as dangerous as that. What we are seeing is something very powerful and also quite harmless. We believe that the Sun released a burst of pure energy and radiation right at Earth. Thankfully, the Earth has a strong magnetic field, so we are given a spectacular light show instead of death and doom from above.”
Picus: “Awesome. Now, from what I understand, this is can be quite unusual for the Sun.”
Neil: “Oh, yes, it is pretty unusual. We’ve only been in this world for a few thousand years, so who knows what the Sun or space itself have in store for us. We are still learning about what the Sun can do, so pay attention to what we might discover next.”
Picus: “That is a pretty solid theory. I have to say that I am impressed.”
Neil: “Well, it’s only a theory. I can’t wait to see someone debunk this theory in a few hours on Potatube. Gahahaha!”
Picus: “Keh-hahahaha! Let’s see them debunk two theories then. Tell us about the second theory, Professor.”
Neil: “Right. Personally, I believe that the second theory is much more sound than the first one.”
Picus: “Really? This next one has Professor Neil Denierre Tyler’s stamp of approval? This ought to be good.”
Neil: “Oh, it’s really good. I wholeheartedly support it. So. The second theory. Is a gamma ray burst. A gamma ray burst struck the Earth’s atmosphere and caused the auroras.”
Picus: “Gamma ray burst? Well, that certainly escalated. Isn’t that one of the most powerful forces in the universe?”
Neil: “It certainly is.”
Picus: “Then how in the world is Earth still in one piece right now?”
Neil: “Gahahaha! You are well informed about gamma ray burst, aren’t you?”
Picus: “Kehehehe~ I have watched a few documentaries, Professor.”
Neil: “Hehehe~ You are absolutely right. Gamma ray bursts are one of the most powerful energy beams in the universe. Except this gamma ray burst in this theory is significantly weakened.”
Picus: “Weakened? Can one of the most powerful things in the universe get weakened like that?”
Neil: “Yes. In fact, we have encountered many gamma ray bursts since we start paying attention to the space around us. The first one we encountered is GRB 670702, a gamma ray burst found by the Cold War satellite, VELA 4. There have been many of them recorded since then and it’s safe to say that we are pretty unaffected by it.”
Picus: “So how do these burst get so weak?”
Neil: “A large contributor is space, or more specifically, space-time. It’s what scientists call the ‘redshift’. Redshift happens when energy waves gets spread out as they travel through the vast cosmos. Blue light starts to shift to red light. High energy wave spreads out into a thin one. That’s redshift. These burst happened so long ago in a place so far away that when they finally reach Earth, their energy levels are a shadow of their real selves.”
Picus: “So as energy, light, radiation and all that, travel for a long time through the universe, they get spread out more and get weaker? That’s what happen to the gamma ray burst?”
Neil: “Yes. This theory does suggest that this happens to the gamma ray burst.”
Picus: “So how far. Does a gamma ray burst have to travel to be weakened until it can be stopped by the Earth’s magnetic field?”
Neil: “VERY far. So far, we think it came from a distant galaxy far, far away. In fact, all gamma ray bursts that we’ve seen are from distant celestial bodies long gone billions of years ago.”
Picus: “Billions of years… Now, that’s old.”
Neil: “Yes, very old. Think of how lucky we are. If the gamma ray burst is a bit more closer, forget about the auroras, the atmosphere will be blasted away.”
Picus: “Phew! I hope I don’t experience a nearby gamma ray burst in my time. I am done playing russian roulette with the universe. Oh Lord, spare me from that.”
Neil: “Gahahahaha! Don’t worry. The chances of a gamma ray burst happening near Earth are incredibly small. But nonetheless we have a lot to learn from this auroras. Who knows? Next time these two theories will be disproven and a real conclusion will come out.”
Picus: “Yes. So everyone, enjoy the lightshow, whereever you are. Take a selfie, video or make sweet love with your partner under the aurora sky. Thank you all for tuning in and thank you once again, professor, for this insightful talk.”
Neil: “Thank you. I’m glad to be here to share my thoughts with you and the audience.”
Picus: “Let’s give it up for Professor Neil Denierre Tyler!”
Picus presses a button on his soundboard and the sound of applause plays. As the sound bite ends, Picus begins talking.
Picus: “Now that the professor has presented his view, it’s time to extend this conversation to you, listeners. A conversation is only a conversation when the other party gets to express their opinion and ask questions. Don’t you agree, professor?”
Neil: “Absolutely. I am welcome to answer any questions and criticism on the two theories on the auroras.”
Picus: “We will be taking a break after this. Your phone calls will be taken during this break and we will be putting your questions on a list. We will pick the best ones for the professor to answer. Thank you for tuning to Starstruck, hosted by me, DJ Picus, and featuring guest star, Professor Neil Denierre Tyler.”
Neil: “Hello world.”
Picus: “We will be back. Up next, some music and a word from our sponsors.”
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