The Earth is a Giant Magnet

Look out star warriors and trekkers, Earth has its own protective force field, the magnetosphere. Our planetís magnetic field extends tens of thousands of miles into space where it deflects the solar wind away from Earth. The gusty solar wind and CMEs buffet and distort Earthís magnetosphere, sometimes causing magnetic storms. Fortunately, our magnetic cocoon and atmosphere shelter us from the explosions of energy from the Sun.

From the ground, the aurora looks like curtains of light. But photographs from space show us that the aurora is shaped like a giant, oval ring. Actually, it's two rings: thereís a crown of light around each of Earthís magnetic poles.

  The Space Weather Center is part of the National Space Weather Program, with funding provided by NASA and the National Science Foundation.  

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