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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 - 3

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Coronal Mass Ejection

The solar wind is not steady. There are times when the Sun unleashes huge amounts of mass and energy (ions, electrons, and magnetic fields) out into space. These large solar storms come from the Sun’s outermost atmosphere, known as the Corona. They are thus called Coronal Mass Ejections. When Coronal Mass Ejections travel past the STEREO spacecrafts, the speed of solar wind particles increases - as does the magnitude of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). Often before these increases occur, high fluxes of very high energy particles (electrons and ions) pass by the STEREO spacecrafts first.

Click here (2MB, .avi) to watch one of STEREO satellites' observation of the Sun's corona. This is possible by placing a disk in front of the bright Sun to block the bright light from the Sun’s ‘surface.’ Blocking the Sun allows the STEREO camera to see the dim corona. As we watch, we are listening to sounds we have created from the solar wind speed, the high energy protons and electrons, and the magnetic field when it points toward the south. This solar wind data is taken at the same time as the camera on the satellite is observing the Sun."

So what?

Black silhouette of mountain range occupying the lower quarter portion of picture. Green arrays of light are strewn  across the sky. What does the solar wind do for you?

The sounds played earlier are created from information (data) about the solar wind: invisible solar particles and magnetic fields.

Solar Flare

green colored circle filling the square with a bright spot at the 4 o'clock edge of the circle

Solar Flare are associate with solar wind and CME's though the relevance is not entirely clear. Solar flare is not solar wind. While solar wind constantly output charged particles, solar flares rapidly erupt at intervals like CME's, however solar flares do not output particles, ions or plasmas. Instead, solar flares output energy, in the form of electromagnetic waves. Solar flares output this electromagnetic energy in different wavelengths and we have classified solar flares according to the peak output wavelength. Usually solar flares peak in the x-ray wavelength.

Last updated 01/25/2010 © UC Regents