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THE SUN - EARTH CONNECTION

Earth:
The Sun: Image of the Sun from SOHO Michelson Doppler Imager Aurora:
View the Dynamic Sun, Click here

INTRODUCTION

You may think the sun is a constant, steadily glowing, featureless sphere whose only concern to us involves where and when it will appear. But while it does supply steady warmth and light, it undergoes changes that are turbulent and dynamic with far reaching effects on the environment of Earth and the activities of its inhabitants.

The sun is a huge natural thermonuclear reactor, fusing hydrogen into helium and producing incredible temperatures, intense magnetic fields, storms, flares, and other phenomena that would dwarf the earth in size and energy production. Its visible surface is like a pot of boiling water, with bubbles of hot, electrified gas (plasma) circulating up from the interior, and bursting out into space releasing a steady stream of particles known as the solar wind which fans outward through the solar system.

One of the most important solar events is the coronal mass ejection (CME). The solar equivalent of a hurricane, a CME is the eruption of a huge bubble of plasma from the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona. This and other phenomena on the sun result in changes in the solar wind having major consequences on Earth, some harmless and entertaining, and others annoying, disturbing, and potentially catastrophic to some of our most important technology.

After extensive study of the sun, its energy source, structure, features, and behavior, your team will prepare a report describing major solar phenomena and their consequences on Earth, highlighting which present the greatest potential hazards. Your team will detail a time scale in which they are most likely to occur as well as recommendations for keeping affected industries updated on potential sun-related problems.




Last update: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 at 4:59:24 PM.