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Space Weather and the Sun-Earth System

   Space weather begins at the Sun and its ever-expanding atmosphere. From the human perspective, things get interesting when the solar wind reaches Earth's magnetosphere and interacts with our planet's upper atmosphere. The difference between quiet and active times in the 11-year sunspot cycle profoundly influences the character of space weather at Earth and throughout our Solar System.

The <a href="/earth/Magnetosphere/overview.html&edu=elem">magnetic field of the
Earth</a> is
surrounded in a region called the magnetosphere, which is much larger
than the Earth itself. The magnetosphere prevents most of the particles from
the sun, carried in <a href="/sun/solar_wind.html&edu=elem">solar
wind</a>,
from hitting the Earth.<p><small><em> Image courtesy of Windows to the Universe.</em></small></p>

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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