Sun-Earth Interactions

The Sun influences a variety of physical and chemical processes in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA continually monitors solar radiation and its effect on the planet.


Definition source: National Geographic

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Sun-Earth Interactions

The effects of the Sun's variability are evident in a variety of physical and chemical processes in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere. The Sun continuously produces a solar wind made of charged particles that flows outward into the solar system. When the solar wind reaches Earth’s magnetic field (called the magnetosphere), it can cause magnetic reconnection, an explosive process that allows charged particles from space to accelerate into the atmosphere.

Glowing auroras near Earth’s poles are the result of billions of individual collisions of solar wind particles, lighting up the planet’s magnetic field lines . Observing auroras — and discovering what causes them to change over time — gives scientists insight into how our planet's magnetosphere reacts to the space weather near Earth.

NASA solar spectral irradiance data include measurements of radiation coming from the Sun (solar irradiance in various spectral regions) as well as solar particle fluxes and their effects on Earth’s magnetosphere.

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