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Large amounts of plasma (consisting of mostly electrons and protons) ejected from the sun.
Gamma-Ray Bursts
Short bursts of gamma-rays (very high frequency electromagentic radiation) with very energetic explosions. These bursts can last from a few milliseconds to a few about an hour.
Geomagnetic Storms
A disturbance in the Earth's magnetosphere caused by changes in space weather such as solar erutptions.
The region around the sun that is filled with the Sun's gases, solar winds, and magentic fields.
The magnetic field produced by the Sun that is carried through by solar winds.
The uppermost part of the atmosphere. It also forms the inner surface of the magnetosphere and is reponsible for radio communication between distant places on Earth.
Lagrangian Point
Equilibrium points in space where the gravitational pull by a massive body is equal to that of another body.
Forms when a stream of charged particles, such as a solar wind, interacts with the magnetic field of a planet.
The surface of the sun that you see.
Solar Eruptions
These are sudden intense bursts of energy in the sun. They may develop in a few minutes and last for several hours.
Solar Wind
A constant stream pf charged particles, such as electrons and protons, that are continuously ejected from the upper atmosphere of the Sun.
Suprathermal Ions
Ions, charged particles, that have more energy than similar particles of the same type.

Can’t find the word here? Check out our full glossary

Solar Wind Science - 2

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Solar Wind - Plasma

a cube with small spheres on its corners occupies the upper-left corner. At the upper-right corner a rhombus is also decorated with small black spheres at the 4 corners. Lower-left corner has 4 similar spheres not connected, but free to move. At the lower-right corner the spheres are not white with + or - sign's in them The solar wind is electrified. It is made up of ions and electrons. Ions have a positive electric charge, electrons have a negative electric charge. A mixture of ions and electrons is called a plasma.

(Sonification of solar wind high energy electron data)
Download (.mp2, 98KB)

Solar Wind - Magnetic Field

Gray background with a white circle at the center occupying 1/9th of the picture. Black, circular semi-rings extrudes from the circle. Some are very erratic. Just like Earth, the Sun has a magnetic field, but much more complex.

(Sonificaiton of solar wind magnetic field)
Download (.mp2, 98KB)

Measuring the Solar Wind and IMF

How do we measure the solar wind? With scientific instruments on spacecraft! The solar wind plasma instruments count the ions and electrons as they enter the instrument. The IMF instrument is a sophisticated compass that measures the strength and direction of the IMF. NASA’s ACE, Wind and the two STEREO satellites all measure solar wind ions, electrons, and the IMF.

We have turned STEREO-measured solar wind ions and IMF into sounds. We hope that these sounds are both engaging and help you to remember this science.

(Sonificaiton of protons in solar wind)
Download (.mp2, 98KB)

Last updated 01/25/2010 © UC Regents