Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


p 96-1425 John Hersey's "A Bell for Adano" performed at Roxbury Latin School 1953 based on events at Licata Sicily American occupation 1943
Since 1959 I have known John Hersey's eldest son Martin Hersey, who attended Exeter and Harvard and who has extended many kindnesses to me over many years. We are currently in frequent communication. I met the other members of the Hersey family - Martin's mother, sister, and brothers in 1960. John Hersey was one of America's greatest journalists and covered war in Philippines and was in thick of fighting on Guadalcanal, aiding care of wounded - he observed occupation in Licata Sicily 1943 and renewal of Italian -American friendship- he visited Warsaw and Leningrad 1945 and wrote the definitive treatment of the Hiroshima bombing with 1946 follow-up on six of the victims, awakening the world to realities of atomic war, which had been hushed up as much as possible by U.S. Army. Temporary entry below:_+ NEW IDEA APRIL 12 CONTAIN or REFLECT SOLAR HEAT back toward surface with GREENHOUSE GASES in lower portion of sun's CORONA.--WARM solar SURFACE - AMPLIFY ESCAPE of MASS from SURFACE of SUN to SOLAR WIND. This might be safest technique to remove mass uniformly from all areas of sun. April 22 +Astronomy Professor David Latham has suggested that it will take a great deal of energy to achieve the ideal maximum amount of mass removal from the sun to keep the earth habitable as long as possible. However the time frame is very long. The basic equation is mv squared or m DELTA v squared, where m is the desired amount of mass removed, and Delta V is the difference between starting velocity and escape velocity. I believe that "m" the ideal amount of mass to remove over four or five billion years is not precisely known at present. The optimum rate of removal is likely to be a curve rather than a straight line. Too rapid a beginning might trigger an ice age or orbital instability of earth and planets. The longest-lived stars have 7.5 to eight per cent of the mass of the sun and are estimated to remain on Main Sequence with stable heat output about five thousand trillion years - [5 x 10 to twelfth power]. In atlas of the Universe 1998 I see as estimate that sun equals 333,000 earth masses. Suppose that in four billion years, it was desired to remove eighty per cent of present solar mass - this is very likely more than enough, but illustrates the nature of the calculation. This would mean if one proceeded in a linear fashion, that one per cent of solar mass should be eliminated in the first fifty million years, dividing four billion by eighty. So 3,330 earth masses would be removed in fifty million years, or 66.6 earth masses per one million years - around one earth mass every fifteen thousand years. The acceleration would be complex. I have heard the escape velocity at the surface of the sun estimated between 384 miles per second and 500 kilometers per second. However, the heat of the solar surface 5500 C and the much higher heat and convective motion just below the surface may contribute significantly to the starting energy as we come to understand how the existing solar wind forms and the stellar winds of other stars, including those hotter than the sun. For seven years I have been studying whether it would be possible to remove ANY mass from the sun. I call this stage "Leah" after the older first wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. Before we get to phase Leah, where we might experimentally try to remove a small amount of mass from the sun to observe technology, there would be phase "Blaise Pascal" where we would do thought experiments and test ideas theroetically. If the technology appeared risky, there might be a phase Alpha where we might test procedures on the star Alpha Centauri before working on the sun. As a target, perhaps an experimental small operation to remove a little mass from the sun might be tartgeted for the year 2099, within the lifetime of persons now living. David Latham has proposed the much more difficult and long -lasting PHASE RACHEL, in which the goal would be to achieve an optimum amount of gas removal to prolong habitability of earth to a theoretical maximum. Rachel was very beautiful, but her father was a demanding gentleman, and Jacob needed great patience and persistence. Since April 7, 2000 a number of possible technologies have come to mind, but they will require huge amounts of energy.Most of the technologies involve heating the solar surface to increase the amount of mass that escapes in the solar wind. At present it has been estimated about one trillionth of solar mass escapes each year in naturally occurring solar wind. Hopefully, the sun's own energy can be utilized in one way or another.It is conceivable that over thousands and millions of years ways can be found to store energy from giant objects deep in space, and then beam or transport it Most technologies involve application of some form of heat to the solar surface. There may also be the possibilty of disrupting the surface chromosphere and exposing slight deeper layers which are much hotter. In the order I have thought of them, these are techniques for warming the solar surface- locally or around the entire surface. [1] Lasers - possibly utilizing hydrogen from the sun itself for fusion power. [2] Reflectors or mirrors to aim the sun's own heat back at the surface. [3} A greenhouse gas - if one can be maintained stably in the lower corona, this would be the ultimate mirror or reflector. Extremely high million-degree C. temperatures occur in portions of the lower corona, and the forces that cause them are not completed known- very likely magnetism is involved. This strategy would take mass relatively uniformly from all areas of the surface. It would be desirable to remove mass from the polar regions of the sun, so that it would travel away from the orbit of the earth and other planets. [4] Disruption of the cooler chromosphere to expose hotter interior gas or plasma. [5] ANTI-MATTER- would be extremely effective annihiliating some of the sun's mass and generating astonishing heat if ANTIMATTER can be found, manufactured and handled and contained, as by very strong magnetic fields. There might be advantages in concentrating ther ANTIMATTER at very low temperatures near absolute zero possibly utilizing superconductivity to assist handling, which is far in the future [but Rachel is very beautiful]. The sun is presently about seventy-one per cent hydrogen, twenty-seven per cent helium, and two per cent heavier elements. The removal of helium probably would favor stability, but the helium tends to be concentrated near the core, as David Latham pointed out in 1995. Recently Sean Root of Port Angeles heard a broadcast on a TV history channel in which something was said about "helium bubbles" obrserved in sunspots. if this is true and if they can be targeted, a substantial amount of helium over a long time can be removed from the convective outer zone, which constitutes thirty per cent of solar radius and sixty-five per cent of volume. Doug Wadsworth of Port Angeles and Western Washington University at Bellinghan points out that if it is possible to reduce solar mass signifiantly, orbits of planets will be affected by reduced gravitational pull, and planets will move further from the sun. This will help delay or prevent over-heating the earth and may be of great long run importance. Effects on earth and future colonies on satellites of outer planets need careful calclulation [phase Blaise Pascal thought experiments]. It appears likely a time will come when much of the world's population will move to satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Mars is very small. Colonies can be sent to distant space, but moving all person and animals and plants is much more difficult, but relevant to democratic planning and popular will. Someday it will be possible, but it is important to gain time by keeping earth habitable as long as possible. Thanks to David Latham,Sean Root, Douglas Wadsworth, Philip Brown of, Bohdan Paczynski, Gibor Basri for comments on various astrophysical topics, including halo and dark matter. . April 20:---Since Friday, I have made a lot of progress on a problem I have been working on several years.To reduce the total mass of the sun and so delay its overheating [greatly] I now believe that all that is necessary is to heat local areas of the sun's surface- now about 5500 degrees - amd increase the number of particles that escape into the corona and solar wind. This probably could be done in future with a very large laser either powered by fusion energy or even perhaps by reflectors that would point the suns heat back at parts of its surface. For seven years this looked hopeless. I now believe it will work. More difficult is to remove helium, which is heavier and tends to be in inner layers. However, my friend Sean Root who works at Crazy's Mike's Video in Port Angeles and is enrolled at Peninsula College [age 21 April 6 very good in calculus and math] tells me he saw a television report about "helium bubbles" that come up from sun's interior and are concentrated at some sunspots. He believes he saw this recently on a History TV channel. If this is true, then it should be possible to remove significant amounts of helium as well as hydrogen, which probably would be good for stability. If helium is removed in this way, it should be possible over millions of years [this is a very long-term effort] to remove much of the helium in the outer convective layers of the sun, which represent sixty-five per cent of its total volume. It takes a million years for heat to work its way out from the deep solar core down about 433,000 miles from surface. For seventy per cent of the distance, the heat is transmitted primariliy as radiation. In the outer thirty per cent of radius, convection is predominant. The cube of .7 equals .343 - so it appears the inner radiative zone has 34.3% of total volume of sun, and the outer convective zone is 65.7%. It may be possible to remove much of the helium. God may give us tchnological means to prolong life of sun a very long time- even trillions of years, God willing. If we do nothing the temperature of earth's atmosphere will become inconveniently warm in a few million years, and photosynthesis will decrease as carbon dioxide falls. Solar flares will become more and more serious, though the time scale is not clear to me at the moment. Please discuss this with friends, especially those interested in science, religion, and public affairs. -John Barrett SECOND ESSAY humans can control overheating.Scientists of the future will find them. Basically all we have to do is heat spots on the sun's surface and increase the naturally occurring solar wind, directing the material away from earth and plane of its orbit, perhaps protecting earth with magnetic shield. To heat sun's surface, large lasers could be set up in space stations or even on planet Mercury it may be good for something after all- part of God's plan.It may even be possible to reflect the sun's own heat back at the surface to create these local warm spots - the ultimate in solar energy! The density of the sun is not so very much more than the earths- please HELP me find better data- I have read radius of sun is 433,000 miles more than a thousand times average radius of earth 3959 miles. I have read mass of sun equals a thousand Jupiters or a million earths - I need MORE PRECISE DATA!!! I read temperature of sun's surface is between 5500 and 6000 degrees class G5 star on main sequence, but I don't know is that F, C. or K degrees? A friend here Sean Root [just turned 21 - good at calculus and math] recently heard on history TV channel that HELIUM bubbles come up and are concentrated in some sunspots. This would make it possible to remove helium, probably from the outer convective zone, which represents thirty per cent of the radius of the sun. The innter seventy per cent of distance light traveled primarily by radiation. It takes a million years for heat generated by fusion at core to come to the surface. Since .7 cubed equals .343, the inner sphere - the radiative zone is only 34.3% of total volume of sun, whitle the outer convective zone is 65.7 per cent of volume. Therefore, it should be possible to remove a great deal of helium that comes to surface from the convective zone. That will favor stabilty. If we do nothing, solar flares will be an increasing problem, and in a few million years most of atmospheric carbon dioxide will react and be fixed to silicate rock, destroying most plant life. Material from 1998 Edition Atlas of the Universe edited by Patrick Moore Cambridge press Density of sun l.409 where water at 4 C is standard one density one. Surface gravity - earth's surface is standard "one" - gravit at surface of sun 27.9 times earth gravity. Escape velocity 617.5 km/sec or 384 miles per second Surface temperature 5500 C- down to 4500 C in some sunspots faculae prominences flares spicules some structures observed in chromosphere temporary entry of solar future materials Added April 17 -Professor Basri - Thank you very much for your comments, which I acknowledge now and plan to study carefully. Several ideas have occurred to me in the period since April 7 - in order to increase mass loss, it would probably be simplest to warm all or portions of the solar surface. Orbiting lasers probably fusion-powered or mirrors or reflectors that could direct the sun's own heat back at the surface are conceivable methods.. A greenhouse gas, if one could be constructed around the sun or perhaps in selected areas could warm the surface and amplify mass loss to solar wind. I have seen estimates it may take a million years for energy generated at solar core to work its way out by radiation and convection around 432,000 miles to the solar surface. So any benefits would be far in the future, but study of the problem could stimulate several areas of science and technology. The 1998 Atlas of the Universe edited by Patrick Moore Cambridge University Press lists an escape velocity of 384 miles per second at the surface of the sun, 27.9 times the gravitational force at earth's surface. The average temperature of solar surface is listed as 5500 C. with temperatures as low as 4500 C in sunspots. The density of the overall huge volume of the sun is listed as 1.409 times the density of water, which I believe is near one gram per cc at 4 C. That is less than density of granite around 2.7 or basalt 3.2 times water. A friend has heard a report that "Helium bubbles" are observed in sunspots - if that is true, over time if these could be warmed selectively, a substantial portion of the helium from at least the outer convective zone might be removed, which might favor stability of solar heat output. Since the inner core and radiative zone represent about seventy per cent of solar radius and therefore (.7) cubed of volume, [= .343 or 34.3%] the radiative zone would be over sixty-five per cent of solar volume, so a good deal of helium may be extractable as it is periodically .convected to the surface. I would be interested in finding someone who could calculate how much of an increase in solar wind mass would occur for warming of areas of the solar surface - for example one, five, or ten degrees C. over the entire surface of the sun, or per square mile or other appropriate unit of measure. The idea of creating a greenhouse gas around the sun is my most recent concept - it is not yet clear if high speed particles could be trapped so that they would neither escape into space nor fall gack into the sun itself. This is where magnetic factors might come into play- the inner corona is very hot, and I believe incompletely understood at present. There might be interesting challenges for mirrors or lasers orbiting as close as possible without quickley overheating - they might wear out after a certain period of utility. I acknowledge I have more questions than answers, but I believe it could stimulate scientists and students. As far as moving people, Mars is small, and even if the human race survived by distant colonies, it might be another matter to move six billion or who0knows-how many people to Alpha Centauri and points west. If solar flares or instability or drops in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis become problems sooner than anticipated, would it be enough to send out a colony? Would the majority of the human race desire to keep their earth habitable for their children, and grandchildren, their dogs, endangered species like the California condor and Amborella and 25,000+ orchids? I hope you see my point, though I am working under library conditions with many distractions and feel somewhat iadequate expressing what I see as a gargantuan subject of incredible future importance. Is this comprehensible? Thank you for your courtesy and attention. Best wishes, John B. Barrett "Gibor Basri * Astronomy Dept. * 510-642-8198" wrote:Dear Mr. Barrett - your inquiry about brown dwarfs in the spherical halo of our Galaxy is best addressed by results from the "MACHO" project (, which was originally conceived specifically to look for them. They didn't find them, so although there is no clearly known reason why they might not have formed, it appears they didn't do so in great numbers. The other discussion about making the Sun into a lower mass star is more problematic. I would say it is extremely unlikely that the Sun has lost several percent of its mass on the main sequence; the stability of the Earths temperature is almost certainly due to greenhouse adjustments. And I'm SURE it would be MUCH easier to do something along the lines of "moving the people" (or otherwise controlling their environment) than attempting a stellar modification. Anyway, the human race will undoubtedly evolve into something much more adaptable (if it survives at all) long before any stellar engineering project would become remotely thinkable. Prof. Basri--from p57-. We have seen that energy may be a limiting factor for long term human survival- whether on earth where overheating of sun will become a problem- or on the outer planets, where fusion energy will eventually be the main fuel- how much hydrogen would be needed for 2-3 billion year survival on outer planets? It comes to mind that the outer planets are mostly hydrogen - it is sugggested their cores may be largely metallic hydrogen, which conducts electricity under pressure. A recent issue of Astronomy magazine suggests that brown drawfs are likely to turn up within a few light years' distance from the earth. They might be excellent fuel sources, whether for my project of reducing mass of sun, or for heating life on the rocky outer satellites. I still hope the best source of energy will be the sun itself. If advanced civilizations already exist in Milky Way galaxy, might we detect them diverting pulsar beams to places where they need energy? I see much progress on non-baryonic matter and other topics. I found article on June 1999 observation of sun's galactic rotation relative to galactic center - but I am still looking for more on its motion relative to neighboring stars and galactic plane.
Subject: (R)Bell for Adano performance
Year: 1953