Wappa Falls Observatory owner Owen Bennedick believes a surge in sunspots caused incidents like the beached whale on Gold Coast this week.
Wappa Falls Observatory owner Owen Bennedick believes a surge in sunspots caused incidents like the beached whale on Gold Coast this week. john mccutcheon

Astronomer’s theory on lost birds and beached whales

A SUNSHINE Coast astronomy expert believes the universe has the answers to unexplained whale beachings.

Well, the sun, to be precise.

Wappa Falls Observatory owner Owen Bennedick believes a surge in sunspots caused incidents like the beached whale on Gold Coast this week. A group of rescuers using a harness and boat helped free the whale at Palm Beach yesterday.

The juvenile whale was stuck for about 36 hours.

Mr Bennedick, who has had his eyes on the skies for 50 years, said the incident could be put down to the sunspots which fluctuate in an 11-year cycle.

Do you believe “sun storms” are having an impact on our lives?

This poll ended on 18 July 2014.

Current Results

Yes. The universe is an amazingly complex place.

68%

I’m not sure. It’s way beyond my thinking.

11%

It’s the first time I’ve heard of it.

5%

Oh sure. And I’ve got fairies in my garden.

13%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Astronomers have referred to the cycle as "sun storms", in which the surface of the sun becomes active, culminating in a mass of solar flares.

What starts as a multi-million-degree blast of fire from the sun cools over the vast distances of space.

But what remains is a wave of energy that leaves satellites "highly charged" and damages components with its high current.

The magnetic fields of the Earth collide with the magnetic fields of the sun, throwing things off balance.

He said this electrical interference caused birds to get lost, whales to beach themselves and people to do strange things.

"The big explosion in 2001 which kicked off this whole cycle saw microwaves going crazy, people locked inside their cars at Maroochydore and air-conditioners turning themselves off," he said.

"When you look at charts you can see that every major conflict is tied in with the sunspot cycle."

The highly active sun can be seen through the telescopes at Wappa Falls Observatory at Yandina. Visit www.wappafallsobservatory.com.


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