What Is Space Weather? | Space Weather Definition – Changes in the weather on Earth are something that everyone is familiar with. However, “weather” happens in space as well. Space weather, like terrestrial weather, is the product of a complex system that is influenced by both the Sun and events that occur far closer to Earth.
Space Weather Definition – The Sun’s continual outflow of solar wind fills space with a thin and tenuous wash of particles, fields, and plasma, despite the fact that space is nearly a thousand times emptier than even the greatest laboratory vacuums on Earth.
This solar wind, along with other solar occurrences such as coronal mass ejections, affects the very nature of space and can interact with Earth’s and other worlds’ magnetisystems.The radiation environment in which our spacecraft — and, one day, our humans headed to Mars – pass is likewise affected by such impacts.
Such weather can interfere with satellite electronics, communications, and GPS signals close to Earth and even – when extreme – utility grids on Earth. The US government’s official source for space weather forecasts on how such occurrences may influence Earth is NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.
NASA heliophysics is the nation’s space weather research arm, collaborating on the National Space Weather Action Plan alongside NOAA, the National Science Foundation, the United States Geological Survey, and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory.
NASA uses a series of solar observatories to monitor the Sun and our space environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to investigate everything from the Sun’s dynamics to the solar atmosphere to the particles and magnetic fields in the space around our home planet.
As a result of these observations, we are better able to understand the physical processes that drive the space environment, which allows us to develop better simulations and predictive models of this complex system – and, as a result, better safeguard our equipment
All of NASA’s heliophysics missions contribute to a better understanding of the physical processes that drive the space environment, but the Advanced Composition Explorer and NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, which observe space weather moving toward Earth; the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Observatories are all focused on improving our understanding of space weather.
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