Typical amounts of solar particles hitting the earth’s magnetosphere can be beautiful, but too much could be catastrophic.
Svein-Magne Tunli - tunliweb.no/Wikimedia
Every few centuries the sun blasts the Earth with a huge amount of high-energy particles. If it were to happen today, it would wreak havoc on technology.
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.
A nuclear reaction is under way inside the Sun.
Emily Nunell/The Conversation CC-NY-BD
It’s true that here on Earth, if you want to burn something you need oxygen. But the Sun is different. It is not burning with the same kind of flame you would have on Earth if you burned a candle.
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 Sun is currently middle-aged, having celebrated its 4,568,000,000th birthday at some point in the last million years.
In five or seven billion years time, the Sun’s life will come to an end. And it will be really spectacular - if you’re watching from far enough away.
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.
Solar storms can slam Earth. Better predictions could help us prepare our technology.
When the sun belches out high-energy solar storms into space, fair warning would be appreciated by those who run technologies that can be affected here on Earth. A new technique promises better forecasts.
Ain’t half hot: but where’s it heading?
Astrophysicists found out after the January 2014 solar flare that their predictions of solar weather were not very accurate. Here’s the fix (kind of).