The Sun-Earth Connection
By: Zahaan Eswani
Solar wind is a stream of energized charge particles mostly high energy electrons and protons, flowing away from the sun through the solar system at an average speeds of a 400 as high as 900 kilometers a second (it is capable of reaching speeds three times faster) and at a temperature of 1,000,000Â° Celsius.
Solar wind contains about the same number of electrons and protons, along with a few heavier ions. Particles in the solar wind from the sunâ€™s surface could travel a up to from Knoxville to Memphis in less than two seconds!
For those seeking Solar wind is caused by the corona (which is the layer of the ...view middle of the document...
In the north, they are called aurora borealis (northern lights). In the south, they are called aurora australis (southern lights).
Auroras are caused by the sunâ€™s solar wind. When these particles reach the earth, they are deflected toward the north and south poles by earthâ€™s up magnetic field. The particles then hit the atmosphere and cause the Aurora to appear.
The colors of auroras vary depending on the height at which most of the collisions occur. If the main gas is oxygen above which it mostly is above 300 km altitude, auroras will be red. This is a rare, and only a curse at times of maximum solar activity. The most common color is yellow or green; this is caused by oxygen (again), but at a lower altitude. Nitrogen at about 100 km produces a red light that is often seen at the edges of Auroras.
The Effect of Auroras on Earth
The affect of auroras on the earth is very minor. Itâ€™s just an indicator that something is not right with the earthâ€™s magnetic field and space environment. When auroras are common, the magnetic field of the earth and the ionosphere are rapidly changing by up to several percent in strength. This can effect surface communication which uses the ionosphere as a reflector to bounce the signals.
The most violent events on the surface of the Sun are sudden eruptions called solar flares. Solar flares last a few minutes and can release energies that are equal to millions of hydrogen bombs. Solar flares are...