Gale Force Winds
For a long time, people thought
space was a big, dark void, dotted only with
planets, stars, comets and asteroids. Today,
we know there's more out there, like invisible
magnetic fields and fast-moving charged particles.
Remember: Space is Not Empty!
The vast space between the
Sun and planets is filled with the Solar Wind, blowing ever
outward from our star. The solar wind is
a continuous stream of ionized gas, or plasma
that pours out of the Sun at 200 tons per
second and a million miles per hour. This
thin plasma rushes through space, pulling
the Sun’s invisible magnetic field
along with it. As the Sun spins, or rotates,
this interplanetary magnetic field takes
on a spiral shape, like water coming out
of a spinning sprinkler.
||Wrath of Ra
to hit Earth by launching
particles off the Sun. If you
hit Earth, you may cause
aren’t exactly sure how the wind
escapes the Sun’s powerful gravity.
They suspect that the wind may leave through
holes in the Sun’s Corona. The holes
are cooler, and have a looser magnetic
configuration that could make escape easier. In
this X-ray photograph of the Sun, the dark
areas are large coronal
holes. The bright areas are called “active
regions” and are intense sources
of X-rays. Active regions trap heated
plasmas and are associated with Sunspots.