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Solar Wind - Windows to the Universe

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This is an artist's rendering of solar wind coming towards the Earth and its magnetosphere.
Click on image for full size

Solar Wind

The Sun is flinging 1 million tons of material out into space every second! We call this material solar wind. If you add all this material up over the course of a day, it's like the mass of Utah's Great Salt Lake. And this happens every day, day after day, year after year!

We can't see this material coming from the Sun, but we know that it causes:

The solar wind travels very, very fast, and it travels very, very far! The solar wind goes all the way out past Pluto to the heliopause. There are a few spacecraft like Ulysses and Voyager I & II which are helping scientists study solar wind from the Sun all the way out to Pluto.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA