Space weatherWhat is space weather?
Many of us watch the weather forecasts on Earth and make certain decisions about things to take with them, time to go out for a drive, etc. Like weather on Earth, we also have space weather
, the space weather originates because of the Sun. Solar phenomena (like coronal mass ejection[CME], solar flares, coronal holes, and solar prominence's) which releases matter from Sun into space is the starting point of the processes that develop the space weather.Coronal mass ejection(CME)
Coronal mass ejections consist of matter thrown out from the corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. The corona’s reach, its density, and most other characteristics are structured by strong magnetic fields that are generated by conditions beneath the sun’s visible surface. When the magnetic fields loop back on themselves, great masses of the electrically-charged solar atmosphere become confined within their lines of force. At some point the highly charged gas or plasma—which may amount to as much as a billion tons of matter—can suddenly and violently explode, blowing out huge plumes of solar atmosphere at speeds of several million miles an hour.More here: http://1.usa.gov/1esBm0ESolar flares
Solar flares are intense releases of energy that originate in the sun’s chromosphere, a thin layer of mostly hydrogen that lies between the sun’s visible surface and the corona. Solar flares can last for minutes or hours, and are the largest explosive events in the solar system. The energy released in a single flare can be the equivalent of 40 billion Hiroshima-size atomic bombs.Coronal holes
Coronal holes, viewed in the x-ray waveband, show as exactly what their name states: holes in the corona. The holes can last for months to years, and are rooted in large cells of unipolar magnetic fields that emanate from the sun’s surface. The field lines of the cells extend far away from the sun, allowing a continuous outflow of high-velocity solar material to travel along them into open space.Solar prominence
Solar prominences originate as clouds of solar material held above the sun’s surface by fields of magnetic force. The clouds remain suspended, relatively quiescent—until they erupt, releasing large amounts of solar matter into space.How are we protected from all this?Magnetosphere to the rescue!
A magnetosphere is the region surrounding a planet where the planet's magnetic field dominates. Because the ions in the solar plasma are charged, they interact with these magnetic fields, and solar wind particles are swept around planetary magnetospheres.The shape of the Earth's magnetosphere is the direct result of being blasted by solar wind. Solar wind compresses its sunward side to a distance of only 6 to 10 times the radius of the Earth.More here: http://1.usa.gov/1lCqpvH and here http://1.usa.gov/1a3HxZI Why is space weather so important?
Why are people interested in space weather? Why should you care about space weather? The Sun is the main source of energy for our planet. It makes plants grow and makes our weather go. Changes in the Sun could make a big change in our weather and climate on Earth. Radiation from space weather storms can damage satellites, like the ones used for cell phone communications. That radiation can also harm astronauts, or even people on some kinds of jet airplane flights. Really powerful space weather storms can even knock out the electricity over large areas.Has all this phenomena caused any harm to us? Not yet, but.....
On a cool September night in 1859, campers out in Colorado were roused from sleep by a “light so bright that one could easily read common print,” as one newspaper described it. Some of them, confused, got up and began making breakfast.
Farther east, thousands of New Yorkers ran out onto their sidewalks to watch the sky glow, ribboned in yellow, white and crimson. Few people had ever seen an aurora that far south — and this one lit up the whole city.
At the time, it was a dazzling display of nature. Yet if the same thing happened today, it would be an utter catastrophe.More here: http://wapo.st/1aqF1ZQAlso see: http://bit.ly/19LAFfMWant to know current space weather? Head here: http://bit.ly/spcweat