Within our solar system, space weather is largely driven by the solar wind - a continuous stream of charged particles ejected from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. It takes about 2-3 days for the charged particles to reach Earth.
See a video about the Solar Wind. Learn more about the Solar Wind. The solar wind can also be effected by solar storms (see Solar Flares & CMEs). Learn about the role of the Space Weather scientist.
Earth is largely protected from the solar wind by its magnetic field, which deflects most of the charged particles, although some may be directed towards the magnetic poles where they interact with the atmosphere and may create aurora.
The solar wind has the potential to damage unprotected electronics onboard satellites, and even communications and electrical power transmission on Earth. Watch a NASA video about research into the Aurora Borealis.
Scientists have estimated that Mars lost its magnetic field about 4 billion years ago. With the loss of its magnetic field, the solar wind contributed to stripping away the Martian atmosphere. Today, Mars' atmospheric pressure is about 1% of Earth's.
View a video of the solar wind interacting with the Martian atmosphere.
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