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Speaker: Astrofest 2010

Activity: Public engagement and outreachFestival/Exhibition


European AstroFest is the world's premier space conference and exhibition, bringing together the professional and amateur communities.

Weathering solar storms

Space isn’t quite as cold and empty as you might first think. The Earth is embedded within the outer atmosphere of the Sun and is constantly buffeted by the solar wind and bathed in the remnants of the Sun’s massive magnetic field. While generally imperceptible to humans here on Earth, changes in the space environment, so-called “space weather”, can have an impact upon man-made technologies under, on and above the surface of the Earth. Over 150 years ago, English astronomer Richard Carrington observed a massive solar flare and the geomagnetic storm that resulted was the most powerful on record. Although Victorian technologies were temporarily disrupted, some fear that a similar event today could disable the high-tech infrastructure that underpins modern society. Jim Wild looks at the science behind space weather and considers some of the implications of living with a star.

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CountryUnited Kingdom