Solar wind

The solar wind is an outward flow of charged particles emitted from the Sun in the form of plasma that consists mostly of electrons and protons, with solar magnetic field carried along.

Different speeds of solar wind are associated with different regions on the Sun. As the Sun rotates, these high and low-velocity plasma flows create a spiral pattern in space. The speed of the solar wind in Earth’s direction is typically around 400 km/s during quiet solar conditions, but it increases as coronal holes  are created and point towards Earth. Sudden changes in the solar wind speed affect the shape of Earth’s magnetosphere and may create geomagnetic storms, which can in turn cause communication disruptions on Earth.

The solar wind also injects charged particles into the magnetosphere, where they are carried along the geomagnetic field lines and may enter the upper atmosphere in the region of auroral ovals, causing aurora events to occur.

 

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