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Hurricanes and Whirlpools
Under Construction
Sun Spirals
Sun Spirals
Illustration "Parker Spiral"

This spiral is an illustration of the Suns' Magnetic Field. Image created by NASA artist Werner Heil.

As the Sun rotates, its magnetic field twists into a Parker spiral, a form of Archimedean spiral named after its discoverer, Eugene Parker. As the spiraling magnetic sheet changes polarity, it warps into a wavy spiral shape that has been likened to a ballerina's skirt. To read more about the ballerina’s skirt phenomenon, visit  the Quasar9 Blog
and search "Ballerina Skirt"

Spirals of Life:
Flowing against the Tide

(Under construction:
Animation of eddies, whirligigs, whirlpools)

Eddies and whirligigs are fascinating things. The eddy appears to be a prototypical model of spatial enclosure. In wrapping around on itself, it creates a sheltered and protective environment, a special interiority that is different from the exteriority of the moving stream. Eddies are often swirled upstream against the current by the action of the stream rushing down. They exist by bleeding energy from the main current, much like a living thing, for living things also make their environment pay the price for their existence: through digestion, living things break down the organization of other living things. They leave a trail of broken pieces and disorder in their wake. The order of the universe deteriorates faster because of their existence. As a local organized event they, like eddies, live and evolve by flowing against the tide. 

sunspot whirlpool
sunspot spiral
Sun Spots: Whirlpools of Fire
Water Spout
Wake Vortex Study at Wallops Island
The airflow from the wing of this agricultural plane is made visible by a technique that uses colored smoke rising from the ground. The swirl at the wingtip traces and demonstrates the aircraft's wake vortex.

Whirlpools form spontaneously in bodies of water and other fluids. The water flowing down the drain always follows a spiral motion. Cold milk poured into hot coffee swirls and curls. Fluids naturally flow in swirls and spirals. Whirlpool action can be observed in hurricanes, molten lava, wafting plumes of smoke, clouds of dust, and swirling drifts of snowflakes. The substance that create these whirlpools—dust, snow, water, and fire—all share certain characteristics, including their ability to flow and change shape and the fact that they are composed of free-floating particles.

A tropical cyclone, from a mechanical point of view, can be visualized as a giant, vertical heat engine supported and driven by physical forces such as gravity and the rotation of the Earth. Tropical cyclones, or hurricanes, form when the energy released by the condensation of moisture in rising air causes a positive feedback loop over warm ocean waters.

The Butterfly Effect
The Lorenz attractor is a pattern that arises in the flow of fluid at uniform depth. Visit Wolfram MathWorld for in-depth discussion of Lorenz attractors.

Chaos theory strives to identify and describe order within apparently disorganized systems. One of the main concepts of chaos theory is known as the “butterfly effect.”
The butterfly effect describes a difference in phenomena so slight that it is similar to a butterfly flapping its wings. This tiny, initial change can effect a system’s behavior over the long-range. The Lorenz attractor plots the seemingly disparate data generated by chaotic systems: order in chaos. To learn more about the topic of chaos theory, visit