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Sun Globe 1

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SPACE WEATHER: What is a storm on the Sun like? Most of the time when we talk about “the weather,” we are referring to the state of Earth’s atmosphere that gives us rain, wind, and temperature changes. The “space weather” produced by the Sun extends deep into the Solar System. It drives some of the greatest changes in our local space environment—affecting our magnetosphere, ionosphere, atmosphere, and potentially our climate. The Sun contains very powerful magnetic fields and they can become twisted and tangled, storing enormous amounts of energy. When the Sun becomes stormy, all that pent-up energy erupts in the form of the Solar System's largest explosions: solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These blasts of light and charged gas rip through the solar wind and sometimes impact the bodies of the Solar System. Luckily, Earth’s magnetosphere acts as a shield, and its atmosphere absorbs the dangerous radiation, protecting us. Image Credit: NASA/SDO
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