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The Sun: Space Weather Machine

June 17, 2015

Research & Collections

As temperatures creep toward the triple digits this week,  it’s probably not hard to remember that the Sun is our primary source for heat and light.

Perhaps less obvious is that the Sun is also responsible for space weather, defined as the varying conditions surrounding the Earth that are due to solar wind and other energetic outbursts from the Sun’s surface. While there is no conclusive linkage between space weather and Earth’s climate, solar particles penetrating Earth’s magnetic field risk disrupting performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems, satellites, and even possibly endangering life.

One of the main objectives of space missions currently studying the Sun is to better understand extreme space weather events, how and when they occur, and how life on Earth may be affected, now and in the future.

607987main_FAQ13_946-710 Graphic of some of key space weather effects on Earth’s satellites and power grid (Credit: NASA).

STEREO…

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