From Sun To Earth

From Sun To Earth

. Satellites monitor a solar storm from its beginning on the Sun to its interaction with the Earth. The Yohkoh satellite observes the X-ray emission from tightly coiled magnetic loops, that release their pent-up energy as a coronal mass ejection, detected by SOHO’s LASCO. Other satellites track the bubble of magnetized gas on its way to Earth, and then record the collision with our magnetosphere. For instance, a radio experiment on board the WIND spacecraft can track the shocks driven by the mass ejection through the interplanetary medium, and the GEOTAIL satellite can observe the magnetic connections when the solar ejection collides with the terrestrial field. The resultant auroras are seen in images obtained with the POLAR or IMAGE satellites.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University