Sun is our protector! NASA explains exactly how it acts as a shield | Tech News

Sun is our protector! NASA explains exactly how it acts as a shield

Apart from providing us warmth and light, the Sun also protects us, says NASA .

| Updated on: Jan 29 2023, 16:03 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
1/5 Sun is a source of energy and a lot of activities keep on happening on the fireball. But can Earth be impacted by solar activities? Before we tell you that, it is important to know what solar activity is? According to NASA, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles are all forms of solar activity. All solar activity is driven by the solar magnetic field. (NASA)
2/5 Solar flares impact Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth. Because flares are made of photons, they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. (Pixabay)
3/5 Coronal mass ejections, also called CMEs, are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction, and then continue on in that direction, plowing right through the solar wind. Only when the cloud is aimed at Earth will the CME hit Earth and therefore cause impacts. (NASA)
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4/5 High-speed solar wind streams come from areas on the sun known as coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the sun and usually, only when they are closer to the solar equator, do the winds they produce impact Earth. (NASA)
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5/5 Solar energetic particles are high-energy charged particles, primarily thought to be released by shocks formed at the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud plows through the solar wind, high velocity solar energetic particles can be produced and because they are charged, they must follow the magnetic field lines that pervade the space between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, only the charged particles that follow magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will result in impacts. (NASA)
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Here is how the Sun protects us. (Pixabay)

Sun is a big source of energy. It provided us with both warmth and light. But did you know that this huge ball of fire also protects us? Yes, this is what NASA has said. The Sun is constantly spewing material that acts like a protective bubble around the solar system- a shield. "#DYK that in addition to providing us warmth and light, the Sun also protects us? The Sun's constantly outflowing material, the solar wind, inflates a bubble around the solar system that acts like a shield, blocking high-energy galactic cosmic rays from elsewhere in our galaxy," NASA Sun and Space tweeted.

It further added that of the spacecraft sent from Earth, only the twin Voyager spacecraft, travelling since 1977, have been confirmed to have made it beyond the boundaries of this bubble, called heliosphere. "Our corner of the universe, the solar system, is nestled inside the Milky Way galaxy, home to more than 100 billion stars. The solar system is encased in a bubble called the heliosphere, which separates us from the vast galaxy beyond – and some of its harsh space radiation," the research organisation said in a report.

We are protected from that radiation by the heliosphere, which itself is created by another source of radiation: the Sun. The Sun constantly spews charged particles, called the solar wind, from its surface. The solar wind flings out to about four times the distance of Neptune, carrying with it the magnetic field from the Sun.

Heliosphere is the combination of two words- Helios, the Greek word for the Sun, and sphere, a broad region of influence (though, to be clear, scientists are not sure of the heliosphere's exact shape), NASA said. The heliosphere was discovered in the late 1950s. As scientists study the heliosphere, they learn more about how it reduces astronauts' and spacecrafts' exposure to radiation and more generally, how stars can influence their nearby planets.

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First Published Date: 29 Jan, 15:59 IST