Questions for ‘Space weather forecast: Big storms ahead’


Blame it on the sun. Extreme space weather events begin when a blob of plasma erupts from the sun and streams toward Earth.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

To accompany feature “Space weather forecast: Big storms ahead


Before Reading:

1.  What do you think the term “space weather” might refer to?         

2.  How might changes on the sun, even ones that are invisible to the naked eye, affect life on Earth?

During Reading: 

1.  What is an aurora, and where would one normally occur?   

2.  What happened in the Canadian province of Quebec that coincided with the aurora of March 13, 1989?

3.  What is the electric grid?

4.  What is a geomagnetic storm and how does it form?   

5.  What does the term “space weather” refer to?  

6.  How can a coronal mass ejection (a CME) affect space weather? How can it affect satellites and other equipment?  

7.  What important phenomenon did Richard Carrington discover? What was his important realization, according to the story?  

8.  What are magnetic fields? 

9.  According to the story, why would it be helpful for scientists to understand which way a CME’s magnetic field points?   

10.  What was the “near miss” that occurred on July 23, 2012?  

After Reading

1.  If a storm representing the “worst-case scenario” happened tomorrow — one similar to the Carrington Event — name four ways that your life might be affected Keep in mind that some of the harm the event caused might not be fixed for months.

2.  If the kind of disastrous results described in the story were to occur, what factors might make it easier for some people and communities to cope than others?