The Sun occasionally ejects large amounts of energy and particles into space that can smash into Earth.
NASA/GSFC/SDO via WikimediaCommons
Space weather can affect satellites in a number of different ways, from frying electronics to increasing drag in the atmosphere.
It’s often said that the aurora, or the northern lights, is caused by ‘particles from the Sun’. But in reality things are more complicated.
The Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, reflected in the water.
A curious kid asks: Why are the northern lights only spotted at areas around the poles?
John A Davis/Shutterstock
Depending on who you ask, the northern lights may, very occasionally, sound like ‘rustling silk’ or ‘two planks meeting flat ways’.
Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the solar wind, guiding the solar particles to the polar regions.
SOHO (ESA & NASA)
When solar particles reach the Earth, they not only produce spectacular auroras but also contribute to the chemical reactions leading to ozone depletion, which in turn influences climate patterns.
A magical sight.
The northern lights might look like magic, but they can actually be explained by science – here’s how.
A coronal mass ejection erupts from the sun in 2012.
The wired Earth of the 21st century is at the mercy of the volatile nature of the sun.
A huge solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 6, 2017. A separate image of the Earth provides scale.
At a time in the sun’s cycle when space weather experts expect less solar activity, our star is going bonkers with solar flares and coronal mass ejections. What effects will Earth feel?
The aurora Steve.
Rémi Farvacque/Alberta Aurora Chasers (facebook)
Scientists still don’t know what caused the mysterious phenomenon ‘Steve’.
Historical records can help us understand what will happen to the northern lights.
Nighttime panorama showing Pakistan’s Indus River valley, taken from space. The green band above the horizon is airglow.
NASA Earth Observatory
Here’s how to tell airglow from northern lights.
New research solves enigma of strange hotspots in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Recent Martian findings are just the latest discoveries of aurora on other planets, both in and out of our solar system.
Launching a space balloon in Sweden.
Geomagnetic storms can interact with particles near Earth, causing issues for satellites and other tech. Researchers send balloons 20 miles into the sky to figure out just what’s going on up there.
Hurricane Arthur photographed by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.
Astronauts living on the ISS get to experience the wonders of the universe’s natural phenomena like no one else.
When the sun flares, space weather is on its way to Earth.
Our power grid infrastructure on Earth is more vulnerable to space weather than previously thought – with susceptibility in more regions and even during quiet geomagnetic periods.
Aurora Australis as seen from Victoria.
Alex Cherney, Terrastro Gallery
The southern lights that put on a show recently across parts of Australia are easily explained by science. But some cultures have their own explanation for these dazzling lights in the sky.
Aurora borealis lights up the sky over Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland, England.
How scientists tracked a massive emission from the sun right across the solar system.
Time exposed photo of the Auroral Spatial Structures Probe Launch into the aurora.
The aurora borealis lights up the Arctic night skies. Also called the Northern Lights, the phenomenon is the result of beams of charged particles tracing along the Earth’s magnetic field and entering the…