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Sun-Earth Day 2010: Magnetic Storms.

Sun-Earth Day 2010: Magnetic Storms


What's up? Magnetic Moons!
What's Up? Magnetic Moons!
Magnetic fields are all around us. They are generated quite simply by the movement of charge....electricity!
What's up? Leonids!
What's Up? Leonids!
In 2009, on the night of November 17th, observers in Asia and North America were treated to an unusually strong meteor shower.


Sun Earth Day 2010 Amateur Astronomy Challenge

This year's Sun Earth Day theme deals with magnetic storms - storms from the sun and the Earth's response. These storms are generally associated with sunspots which also have strong magnetic fields. Solar storms actually carry part of the sun's magnetic field into space to interact with or push on Earth's magnetosphere and the magnetic environments of the other planets and moons of the solar system. So, almost everything that happens in the field of space weather or sun -Earth connection science happens because of the dynamic behavior of magnetic fields and their amazing, inherent coupling to electric fields (electricity).

We have been in an extended period of very low solar activity (and low sunspot count) for the last few years so sunspots and solar storms have been quite rare. How the sun will emerge from this is a subject of great debate. So, sunspot sightings are a big deal right now.

With this in mind, this year's Sun Earth Day Observing Challenge has the following parts:

  1. Observe a sunspot, any sunspot. Take a picture or draw a picture as you sit at the eyepiece and send it in. We'll post it on our web site.
  2. Hold a family astronomy night with magnetism as the theme. We have lots of cool experiments on our web pages that you can demonstrate. You might discuss Jupiter's large magnetosphere or what causes auroras. If there are sunspots, start the party early and observe the sun!!

That's it! Send us the picture and a writeup about your family astronomy night and we'll send you your NASA Sun Earth Day 2010 Observing Certificate.

Good Luck!