The Importance Of Space Weather

1988 Words 8 Pages
The Sun, the closest star to Earth, and a life-sustaining necessity. It is also the center of space and solar weather, which powers and affects much of the solar system’s activities and life on Earth. Space weather goes hand in hand with the Sun’s constant gaseous activities, which depend on the Sun’s natural occurrences. This paper discusses the important topics of solar plasma, solar wind, as well as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. It also looks at human abilities to capture and use solar wind energy to further space exploration and travel in more efficient techniques and methods. Space weather produces different types of solar activities that affect our Earth and those in space. Most inherently, the interactions between solar wind …show more content…
Similar to the process of solar flares, solar wind is created by pushing energy to the surface of the sun, the corona. The corona is what visible light we set of the Sun during a solar eclipse. From there the force of the flow ejects millions of tons of plasma into space every second. It creates giant streaming clouds of exhaust gas that can reach temperatures in the millions of degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures at the surface of the Sun are so hot, that the Sun’s gravity can’t hold on to the rapidly heated particles, thus they rush away from the star. Speeds can reach up to 500 miles per second. The wind primarily consists of charged particles, composed mostly of electrons and protons. These fast moving clouds vary in shape, size, and power. As these clouds move away from the Sun they can change speeds, and carry magnetic clouds from the magnetic fields of the Sun. In the beginning, solar wind greatly affected the shape of the solar system. Its power has stripped the once water abundant Mars and turned it into the dusty red planet it is today. Each planet can be affected differently given their magnetic fields and …show more content…
About 30 CMEs hit Earth every year, but not directly enough to have a severe impact. Larger CMEs are a once-in-a-hundred year accordance based on past data. Even small CMEs could take out entire electrical grid and community communication systems. A large CME could have potentially severe effects which could wipe out entire areas of electricity or communication without restoration for decades. Human life would be set back to independent times, where business, medical, commerce, and agriculture would resort to past practices. However, it would not have effect on health for humans at Earth. Due to relatively low orbit, astronauts in space are still at little to no risk of harm. Humans traveling out of the safety of Earth, like a mission to Mars or the Moon, would be at risk for severe radiation poisoning from sun particles if unshielded at the time. Astronomers and scientists, like those Space Weather Prediction Center, are constantly monitoring the Sun from Earth as well as space laboratories and devices. Scientists can see the solar flares and CMEs ejecting from the Sun, and can possibly warn satellites to shut off their power and remain safe. A CME can not be prevented, but we have notice a few days before hand to prepare. Governments are now paying more attention to issues with possible CMEs or solar flares, and are investing in new technologies to protect power grids

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