This image shows some of the structures that make up Earth's magnetosphere.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork.
Space Weather at Earth
Did you know that the Earth has a magnetic field? It's almost as if a giant
bar magnet ran through our planet. The magnetic field of the Earth is like a huge bubble around our planet. This bubble keeps us safe from most of the solar wind that comes from the Sun.
Some solar wind particles do leak in though and combine with the top of the Earth's atmosphere. This does affect life on Earth. It creates pretty auroral lights. But, sometimes this combination of particles can have bad effects. Some of the bad effects are when electronics on satellites get "zapped" or when electrical power grids on Earth are "blacked out". This means you or I might lose power for the day!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. Here's another picture of how this works. This picture shows where the magnetic poles of the Earth are to...more
The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The magnetic field of the Earth is surrounded by the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere keeps most of the particles from the sun, carried in solar...more
Text for this level has not been written yet. Please see the "Intermediate" text for this page if you want to learn about this topic. To get to the "Intermediate" text, click on the blue "Intermediate"...more
Space weather "storms" can cause problems on Earth. They can even mess up our systems that make electricity. They can also damage the wires and other equipment used to deliver electricity to peoples' houses....more
Certain animal species on Earth (such as the homing pigeon) are able to detect Earth's magnetic field and use it for navigational purposes. Homing pigeons have been known to reach home by flying over 1,6...more
Scientists who study space weather use models a lot. Just what is a model? It is a simplified way of looking at something very complicated. You may be familiar with a globe. It is a model of the Earth....more
The Sun is huge. It has an effect on things even if they are far from the Sun. The "bubble" where the Sun has an effect on things is called the heliosphere. It goes even past Pluto! The place...more