Space Weather

In this post, we will be discussing space weather! Space weather is dissimilar from the weather that we experience on earth, however it is still fascinating to understand. Space weather, in our solar system, is sparked by activity on the suns surface. Spewing gases and solar flares on the surface of the sun form into a stream of particles that we call solar wind. Solar wind carries all of these particles toward earth and the rest of our solar system at up to a million miles per hour. Luckily, due to earths atmosphere, these particles do not enter our atmosphere and we are protected from the harsh solar wind that the sun gives off. Shown in the image below, the atmosphere surrounding earth serves as a shield which deflects this wind.

An illustration showing the Sun's solar wind as orange flares blowing toward Earth and shaping Earth's magnetic field as blue lines
Image of solar wind deflecting on earths atmosphere, retrieved from NASA

Although incredibly deadly and harsh, sometimes these charged particles are able to sneak into our atmosphere and create something beautiful. This beauty is non other than the auroras that some people can only dream of witnessing.

A photograph of green aurora against a dark night sky
An Aurora as seen in Alaska, retrieved from NASA

Devastating to a world without an atmosphere, space weather is a fascinating side effect of a constantly volatile and hot space object similar to our sun. Luckily, we are born on a world with a natural defense and if any of these particles manage to pass through, a marvelous spectacle is waiting to happen.


One thought on “Space Weather

  1. It’s amazing how such a deadly natural process can be turned into a beautiful sight like the aurora. I think it is important for everyone to consider just how impossible life would be without the atmosphere or magnetic field that the Earth currently has. While this may not be directly related to the solar wind and the phenomena of the auroras, it really puts emphasis on how important it is to take care of our planet. We live on a fragile equilibrium and without the magnetosphere, or the right elements in the atmosphere, life may never have been possible.


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