How is Space Weather Defined?

The definition of space weather concerns changing conditions in space, which is different from our concepts of weather within the atmosphere of Earth. Space weather phenomena involve such things as magnetic fields, radiation, ambient plasma and other interstellar matter. Thus, space weather is the science of describing the conditions in space that effect the Earth and our technological systems, such as geostationary weather satellites and communication systems. Space weather depends on the behavior of the sun, how the Earth's magnetic field behaves, as well as our location within the solar system. Many ingredients fit into the space weather prediction "pie", such as the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field, geomagnetic storms, the Van Allen radiation belts, ionospheric disturbances, aurora borealis events, and geomagnetically induced currents on the Earth's surface. Coronal Mass Ejections can be an important contributor to space weather, due to triggering geomagnetic storms of significance. Solar flares can damage sensitive electronics.


(From the Endeavour Space Shuttle on April 10, 1994. The three bright stars just below the aurora in a line, are Orion's Belt).


Space Weather Links

NOAA/NWS Space Weather Prediction System
SOHO Space Weather
UCAR Space Weather

Space Weather Canada
ESA Space Weather

Space Weather Resources - Rice University
Space Weather Research Explorer
University of Alaska-Fairbanks Real Time List of Geophysical Data
NASA's Cosmicopia

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