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What is Space Weather?

Most of the time, space weather is of little concern in our everyday life. However, when the space environment is disturbed by the variable output of particles and radiation from the Sun, technologies that we depend on in our daily life, in space orbit as well as on the ground, can be affected. Some of the most dramatic space weather effects occur in association with eruptions of material from the solar atmosphere into interplanetary space. Thus, our space weather is a consequence of the behavior of the Sun, the nature of Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, and our location in the solar system. The increasing deployment of radiation -current- and field sensitive technological systems over the last few decades and the increasing presence of complex systems in space combine to make society more vulnerable to solar-terrestrial disturbances. This has been emphasized by the large number of problems associated with the severe magnetic storms between 1989 and 1991 as the 11 year solar activity cycle peaked. By the way, The peak of the next sunspot cycle is expected in late 2011 or mid-2012, potentially affecting airline flights, communications satellites and electrical transmissions. But forecasters can't agree on how intense it will be ... anyhow ... on this site, you can monitor these events quit closely.

EIT (Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope) images the solar atmosphere at several wavelengths, and therefore, shows solar material at different temperatures. In the images taken at 195 Angstrom it corresponds to about 1.5 million Kelvin.
      Courtesy of: '' This movie shows a spherical map of the Sun as it currently appears, formed from a combination of the latest STEREO Ahead and Behind beacon images. The movie starts with the view of the Sun as seen from Earth, with the 0 degree meridian line in the middle. The map then rotates through 360 degrees to show the part of the Sun not visible from Earth. The black wedge shows the part of the Sun not yet visible to the STEREO spacecraft.
SOHO Real-time View of the Sun: EIT-195 + Stereo EUVI 195

This C2 LASCO (Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph) image shows the inner solar corona up to 8.4 million kilometers (5.25 million miles) away from the Sun.
      Courtesy of: '' This C3 LASCO (Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph) image has a large field of view: They encompass 32 diameters of the Sun. To put this in perspective, the diameter of the images is 45 million kilometers (about 30 million miles) at the distance of the Sun, or half of the diameter of the orbit of Mercury. Many bright stars can be seen behind the Sun.
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SOHO Real-time View of the Sun: Corona / LASCO-C2 + LASCO-C3

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Statistical Aurora oval (extrapolated data of NOAA-14)

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Geomagnetic activity index at Tromsų Geophysical Observatory Main page
Responsible editor: Truls Lynne Hansen
Web & cgi programmer: Børre Heitmann Holmeslet

The K indices show the local disturbance of the earth's magnetic field (Aurora). The K index is
a quasi-logarithmic measure of the maximum disturbance in steps of 0 to 9 for three hours (UTC)
each; 500 nT is the lower limit for K = 9. Large indices point to a correspondingly higher
penetration of corpuscular radiation.