Space Briefing Book:

Space Weather

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Space weather is the result of our sun’s activity. A sun cycle lasts about 11 years, and it is marked by the frequency of sunspots. During the “solar minimum,” sunspots and solar flares are fewer and smaller, while during the “solar maximum,” sunspots are larger and more frequent. Solar flares and sunspots can impact Earth’s space- and ground-based infrastructure and technology. The sun is currently near its solar minimum.

Image of Sun from SOHO

The sun, captured by NASA and ESA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Credit: NASA

Organizations Tracking Solar Activity

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
The U.S. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center monitors for and predicts solar activity to forecast space weather’s impact on Earth infrastructure.

ESA Space Weather Coordination Centre
The European monitoring organization develops and distributes up-to-date space weather analysis, primarily catering to owners and operators of ground- and space-based infrastructure.

International Space Environment Service (ISES)
A network of space weather organizations collaborating to coordinate and deliver space weather services. It draws data from 16 regional warning centers to provide forecasts, alerts, long-term solar cycle predictions and other data on the space environment.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
Operated by the ESA and NASA, SOHO has been used to study the sun for two decades, observing the sun’s composition and delivering information about it to inform analysis of space weather.

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