Some conditions in space have the potential to seriously
affect us on Earth.
We call these conditions "space weather".
The causes can include radiation storms and ejections from the Sun
as well disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field caused by the Sun.
Besides triggering beautiful auroras, these solar storms can
damage satellites, disrupt power grids and electrical systems,
interfere with cell phones and other communications,
and disturb animal movements.
They can even threaten astronauts and high-flying airplanes
with their radiation!
Space Weather Forecast
Space Weather Forecast (Spanish)
Space Weather Forecast (Chinese)
A curriculum unit designed for middle and high school science teachers highlighting the types of solar activity that threaten Earth and the potential impact they can have.
Severe Space Weather - Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts - (2008)
A 132-page study by the National Academy of Sciences about the potential global impact of a super large solar flare, such as the "Carrington flare" of 1859
(which was also the first solar flare ever observed, and named after Richard Carrington, one of the observers). This event caused a severe geomagnetic storm, which disrupted telegraph communications
and had it occurred today, its impact on electrical systems, telecommunications and commerce would be catastrophic.
Space Weather (PowerPoint presentation)
A PowerPoint presentation appropriate for high school through adult. Explains the effects of space weather upon the Earth and the steps we might take to be more prepared.
Aurora photo by David Fritts, Poker Flat Research Center, Alaska;
SOHO spacecraft, courtesy NASA/ESA
Solar flare: EIT instrument aboard the SOHO spacecraft
Earth & satellite from
Dr. Sten Odenwald's Space Weather site
Space weather guy from spaceweather.com;
D-region absorption prediction image: The National Weather Service Space