NOAA / Space Weather Prediction Center
Teaching Space Weather
These are the "talking points" that can be used with the slide presentation . Any teacher can make use of this presentation as a beginning to explore the subject of space weather. This SWPC web site may be a source of follow-on information, as will as the many links here to other sites.
Sunburn, solar index, sunscreen all have to do with the first type of emission. The variability of the small portion of the Sun's output listed last is the cause of space weather.
The sun is a gas ball with various temperatures and densities
While all these temperatures are very hot, they are really different from each other. Consider how big the range of temperature is..
§ Explore what seasons are on Earth (relates to position around Sun) and what they are on the Sun (we don't really know why).
§ The polar orientation on the Sun reverses every 11 years; it reverses on the Earth every 100,000 years or so.
§ The various definitions of a day are interesting for Earth and for the Sun.
§ Plotting a list of monthly or yearly sunspot numbers reveals the solar cycle plot. Easy to get that data on the Web
§ Marvelous pictures on the web of the Sun, features in various wavelengths
§ Different wavelengths are looking at different temperatures, therefore different layers
§ Galileo was subjet to political/religious persecution. Why? Science and Religion in conflict.
NOAA's GOES satellite has given us the most information about the space environment over the years, not with images but particle sensors.Ususally this information is plotted in a graph, and that is what we look at, not pictures.
Aurora borealis and Aurora australis
§ Any Hams among your students? There are advantages to a disturbed ionosphere for those wanting to communicate around the world with whomever they can reach.
The ACE satellite sits out in front of the magnetopause and can measure all of the solar wind; Sometimes the satellites that are measuring the space environment are damaged by the space environment.
§ How serious is the radiation hazard on airplanes? Who is most seceptable to the risks?
NOAA is doing research on this topic today. Latest research suggests the answer is YES, this small variability of the Sun drives large-scale changes to weather.
Space Weather effects on:
What technology is dependent on satellties?
TV feeds, navigation signals, some telephone signals, credit card transactions (for gas stations), weather maps, military surveillance, pager service
What are the risks of lost navigation signals?
Tankers need to follow great circles to save on fuel costs, so wasted fuel; groundings, and spilled cargo
As an astronaut, would you care about this?
NASA cares. Every person has a daily limit and a lifetime limit of exposure. Can astronauts get to Mars without exceeding the limits? And without getting cancer?
How are communications disrupted?
Radio signals bounce differently or not at all when they are expected to, so some places can receive signals during disturbed times. Air Force One has lost all radio contact while flying over the pole.
How would you know about this disruption?
Electrical blackouts. And these days, as the grids are interconnected more, larger areas will be affected.
§ Understanding the scales is an excellent exercise in table reading; and is new and important
Space Weather Topics:
Alerts / Warnings, Space Weather Now, Today's Space Wx, Data and Products, About Us ,
Email Products, Space Wx Workshop , Education/Outreach, Disclaimer, Customer Services, Contact Us