The IMF is represented by the blue arcs in the picture above. This picture shows the spiral nature of the IMF.
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acts like it has a big magnet in the middle of it. We call this the Sun's magnetic field.
The Sun's magnetic field has a fancier name, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). This just means that the Sun's magnetic field is so huge that it passes all of the planets. Can you imagine a bar magnet that is so huge and powerful that it reaches all the way out to Pluto?! The Sun's magnetic field does hit a boundary way past Pluto called the heliopause.
The magnetic field of the Sun is carried by the solar wind which comes out from the Sun. The solar wind and magnetic field are twisted into a spiral by the Sun's rotation.
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AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is an easy way to measure large distances in space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For really big distances, we...more
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If someone says they saw an aurora, you might picture something like this. There is another type of aurora that we can't see. These aurora are called SAR arcs. The SAR stands for Stable Auroral Red. That...more
This figure shows the effect of the aurora on the atmosphere. When FAC's enter the atmosphere and create the aurora, they heat the atmosphere suddenly and abruptly. This creates an impulse which travels...more