The Sun-pocalypse That Wasn't

Ransom Riggs

Remember all those movies from the turn of the millennium where a giant comet or asteroid plummets toward Earth and threatens to destroy life as we know it? Well, that's exactly what happened on the sun over the weekend -- without the attendant chaos or loss of life, of course. In fact, it was kind of like throwing a golf ball into a bucket of water: splorsh! And that was it. The coolest part, though, is that we have moving pictures of the event.

Interestingly, the "splash" you see apparently wasn't caused by the comet's impact, but was a completely random "coronal mass ejection," which just happened to occur at almost the same time. In any case, I can say with confidence: you don't see that every day.

All this interstellar crashing-into of things reminded me of a new movie from the embattled and controversial director Lars von Trier, Melancholia, which he calls a "beautiful" film about "the end of the world." In this particular apocalypse scenario, the possibly-impending end of the world is caused by a giant planet that's been "hiding behind the sun" and is heading right for us. If that sounds silly, check out the trailer below: in this, at least, I think he makes it seem atmospheric and unsettling.