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Solar Energy on Earth

Earth receives electromagnetic radiation from the Sun from the highest energy ultraviolet to the lowest energy infrared.

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End of the World
Teacher Contributed

2012: The End of the World


Potential Danger of Solar Flares

Student Exploration

Is the end of the world imminent?

Are solar storm surges going to be the cause of mass destruction on Earth? According to NASA scientists, the answer is no. Check it out: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=119864551

Extension Investigation

  1. In the spring and summer of 2012, solar flare activity increased. Here is some data that was collected in March 2012 by NASA: Geomagnetic Storm Strength Increases What are some potential issues that could arise on Earth because of this increased solar activity? Brainstorm a list of possible problems.
  2. One major concern that people have with a solar storm is the impact on our electrical grid As Sun Storms Ramp Up, Electric Grid Braces for Impact If the electrical grid was affected, what in your life would be impacted? Now, think bigger. How would an impaired electrical grid affect your city? Your state? The world?
  3. Take a look at the current weather on the surface of the sun: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html When was the last alert? What is the wind speed? Have there been any storms or blackouts in the past 24 hours? Explore the site. Determine when the most activity has been in the last week.
  4. Use the following NOVA online labs (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/) to learn how scientists measure solar spots and predict storms. Practice counting and measuring yourself using real data and then come up with your own investigation!

Resources Cited

NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-superFlares.html


Victoria Jaggard. National Geographic. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2011/08/110803-solar-flare-storm-electricity-grid-risk/

NOAA. http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html

Stanford Solar Center. Stanford University. http://sid.stanford.edu



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