This image shows the auroral oval over the northern hemisphere.
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Space Weather Mysteries & Unanswered Questions
The study of space weather is a relatively young science. As such it has many unanswered questions and unsolved mysteries. Although some of our data relevant to space weather, such as sunspot counts, go back many years, most of knowledge of the field stems from recent times. Supercomputers, satellite-borne instruments, and telescopes capable of imaging the Sun in many different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are recent developments, and each plays a large role in our developing understanding of solar science and space weather.
Here are a few of the unsolved mysteries related to space weather:
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You may not know that humans have observed sunspots for a very long time. These records have been around so long in fact, that we can link sunspot number with solar activity. Large sunspots can sometimes...more
Satellites and other spacecraft help us observe space weather. They collect data about the Sun, Earth's magnetosphere, Earth's atmosphere, and space weather throughout the rest of our Solar System. Spacecraft...more
With just our eyes, we can see many things in the night sky, including stars, planets, meteors, comets, auroras, and the Moon. Have you ever looked up and wished that you could take a closer look at the...more
Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is very familiar to us. However, there are several other forms of electromagnetic (EM) radiation, such as X-rays, radio waves, and ultraviolet and infrared...more
Energy from the Sun affects many things on Earth. One of the main things the Sun does is warm our planet, including the atmosphere. This energy drives much of our weather. The solar cycle, the rise and...more
"Helios" is the ancient Greek word for the "sun". The Heliosphere is the entire region of space influenced by the sun and its magnetic field (called the IMF). The magnetic field of the sun (the IMF) is...more
Scientists combine various techniques to study space weather. Earth-based and orbiting telescopes constantly observe the Sun in many different wavelengths. Both satellites and ground-based instruments...more
Although space weather forecasts are not normally featured on the evening news, space weather does impact life on Earth in many ways. Our modern, technologically complex systems - including communications,...more