ago, most scientists believed that Earth was surrounded by an empty, unchanging
vacuum. The launch of the first satellites in the 1950's changed all that.
Now we know that space is filled with debris from disintegrated comets, an ever-changing million mile-per-hour
solar wind, radiation belts and auroral fountains. Solar flares and coronal mass
ejections can lead to poor radio communications or disrupted power grids
here on Earth. Potential hazards to astronauts or satellites in space
can be even more serious.
Space weather is a relatively new field of science dedicated to the study
of these interactions between the Sun and the Earth. Practitioners of
space weather attempt to predict solar flares, coronal
mass ejections, geomagnetic
storms and other space-related phenomena.
The official U.S. government bureau for space weather forecasting is the
Space Environment Center
(SEC). The SEC provides real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical
events, conducts research in solar-terrestrial physics, and develops techniques
for forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances. SEC's parent organization
is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
space weather report