Coronal Weather Report







Living with a Star: Sun-Earth Connections

Image Credit: SOHO

When a coronal mass ejection hurls itself through space there are significant consequences once the magnetized plasma impacts the Earth.

CME's and solar flares can disrupt satellite operations in orbit, communications with satellites and communications on the ground, as well as power grid stations on the ground. Harmful radiation from the solar storm does not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, but it can be harmful to astronauts on the International Space Station or in the Space Shuttle, especially if they are involved in a space walk outside the vehicle at the time. In addition to these distructive effects, solar storms also produce aurora which light up the night sky with beautiful colors.

With improved models of the Sun's magnetic field scientists can begin to understand what causes these explosive events to occur on the Sun, allowing them to more accurately predict when the effects of a solar storm might be headed our way. With better space weather predictions we can take precautions to limit or avoid the distructive effects described above. In this sense, solar physicists are working to become forecasters of the space weather which affects us all.

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