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This image shows how different types of solar radiation (x-rays to infrared radiation) penetrate into the Earth's atmosphere. It is this solar radiation that ionizes the upper atmosphere, creating the ionosphere.
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The Sun's Effect on the Ionosphere

The ionosphere is an invisible region found in the Earth's atmosphere. When the Sun is more active, the ionosphere is thicker.

So things like flares and coronal mass ejections will make the ionosphere thicker!

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Cool It! is the new card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change—and how policy and technology decisions made today will matter. Cool It! is available in our online store.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF