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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.

Near-Earth Space Weather Today

Radiation belts

This is an artist's conception of the Earth and the inner and outer radiation belts that surround it.

Variations in space weather affect Earth's upper atmosphere (mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere). Space weather also impacts the radiation environment in near-Earth space (magnetosphere, plasmasphere, and radiation belts). Check out the links below to find out about current (or the most recent) space weather conditions in near-Earth space and the upper atmosphere.

Space Weather

Space Weather Today

Last modified September 1, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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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, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

The Thermosphere

The thermosphere is a layer of Earth's atmosphere. The thermosphere is directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. It extends from about 90 km (56 miles) to between 500 and 1,000 km (311 to...more


Radiation comes in two basic types: electromagnetic radiation transmitted by photons, and particle radiation consisting of electrons, protons, alpha particles, and so forth. Electromagnetic radiation,...more

The Earth's Magnetic Field

The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The Earth's magnetic field reaches 36,000 miles into space. The magnetic field of the Earth is surrounded in a region called the magnetosphere....more

The Earth's Plasmasphere

The plasmasphere is a donut-shaped region inside the Earth's magnetosphere. It is basically an extension of the ionosphere, or the topmost part of the Earth's atmosphere. The magnetic field lines of the...more

Radiation Belts

The Earth's radiation belts are just one part of the system called the magnetosphere. The radiation belts of the Earth are made up of electrons, protons and heavier atomic ions. These particles get trapped...more

Projects - for Science Fairs & Beyond

Interested in doing a project related to space weather for a science fair? The Stanford SOLAR Center provides information about space weather monitors that you can build yourself, including the Sudden...more

Space Weather throughout the Solar System

There is a giant magnetic "bubble" in space around the Sun. That "bubble" is called the heliosphere. In a sense, we Earthlings live within the outer atmosphere of our Sun. The solar...more

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