Blog #6: Space Weather: Impact on Earth

blog6spaceweather
Representation of a solar magnetic storm

We usually think of the Sun as providing us with only a few things such as light and heat, however, the Sun’s impact on Earth extends far beyond that. One additional way that the Sun impacts Earth is through the spewing of products of the Sun’s atmosphere directly toward Earth. The Sun releases electrically charged clouds of hot gas out of its atmosphere, and although most of it doesn’t affect us due to Earth’s magnetic field, we still experience some of the effects of the Sun’s atmosphere. The effects of Sun’s atmosphere on Earth is commonly known as “space weather”. Space weather causes some incredible phenomena on Earth, such as the Northern and Southern Lights, as well as Aurora Borealis and Australis. Space weather from the Sun flows down the magnetic field surrounding the Earth, making its way towards the North and South poles. The charged particles released by the Sun’s atmosphere glow in various colors, which can be seen clearly from Earth’s surface near the North and South poles.

 

Although space weather has some positive effects on Earth, such as the release of charged particles that glow in different colors as they hit Earth, it can cause serious problems if not carefully monitored. Space weather can cause disruptions in infrastructure such as aviation, power grids, and navigation systems. Infrastructure both on Earth’s surface and in nearby space is vulnerable to the effects of space weather. Recently, as we learn more about how space weather effects human infrastructure, precautions are being taken to prevent future damage. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is currently campaigning to reduce the negative impacts of space weather, by implementing more advanced space weather detection systems and advancing research in how to enhance space weather forecasting abilities.

 

Sources:

What is solar weather?

Extreme Space Weather Affects Us Too, You Know

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2 thoughts on “Blog #6: Space Weather: Impact on Earth

  1. This is super interesting! You say that space weather could impact our infrastructure; how often do weather events occur? Is there anything we can do to lessen the effects or prepare for weather events? I think it’s very important to be able to detect and forecast these systems, but it would be better if we were able to protect ourselves from the negative effects as much as possible.

    Like

  2. While you listed earlier detection methods as a way of avoiding the negative effects of solar weather, are there any ways we could possibly protect ourselves in case of it hitting anyways?
    Are there any ways we could perhaps brace important electronics from the negative effects of solar radiation?
    Very interesting to see if we could perhaps harness the power of solar winds to generate renewable energy

    Like

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