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Solar Wind

The solar wind is a continuous outward stream of particles (mostly protons and electrons) from the sun’s hot corona. Energized by high temperatures in the corona, these particles leave the sun at speeds ranging from 200 to 500 miles per second (300 to 800 kilometers per second). The fastest of these particles stream out through the middle of coronal holes.

Because the sun rotates, the departing solar wind takes on a pinwheel shape when viewed from above. Embedded in this particle pinwheel are magnetic fields that get dragged into interplanetary space.

The solar wind can be strongly affected by solar flares and coronal mass ejections, both of which fling huge amounts of coronal material and embedded magnetic fields into space. These ejected particles become a powerful “gust” in the solar wind. When they reach the earth, they can cause severe space weather storms.

Solar Wind Data

solar wind data

This is a portion of the graph that shows data relating to the solar wind. Check the current solar wind using live data.

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Wind
   
This image shows a computer model of solar wind streams in the plane of the earth’s orbit. Brighter colors mean faster streams.

 


Youll find more information and a current movie on the Web site of Karel Schrijver.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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