The IQ of StarsMost of us think of the Sun as a huge ball of gas, sort of like a hydrogen baloon held together by gravity. Nothing complex; just denser and denser layers getting hotter as you get to the center. Nothing could be further than the truth. Starting in 1979, Voyagers One and Two sent back travel pictures from Jupiter. It's another ball of gas, but the weather on Jupiter, as evidenced by those marvelously beautiful cloud formations, is exceedingly complex. As well it might be. Our own weather here on Earth is chaotic beyond our ability to compute, what with butterflies in Singapore creating tornadoes in Wichita. Jupiter is 1400 times the volume of the Earth. Greater volume doesn't necessarily mean greater complexity; but does leave room for it. The Sun is over 100,000 times the volume of Earth. The pressure of gravity is so high that the word 'gas' is no longer applicable. The 'weather' on the Sun is highly charged atomic particles rubbing against each other in unimaginable current flows of monstrously fractal complexity. A computer is just a bunch of current flows, really. Why couldn't the Sun be a giant computer? Why couldn't the Sun have intelligence? There's even a Science Fiction story based on the idea that stars have intelligence, with an alien race that pilgrimages from star to star to learn their wisdom. There's no way to measure the Sun's intelligence, even if it exists; it's just an interesting idea. But I believe our Sun is in early adolescence. What else could sunspots be but solar acne?
1 Feb 2014; 24 Jul 1996
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