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The Solar Wind

  1. Feb 18, 2010 #1
    This is more of a confirmation that I got the facts right:

    Reading around, I found out that the solar wind travels from the Sun to the Earth at a mean speed of 400km/s. Does this mean that it takes around 4 days for a burst of solar wind to cause disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field?

    What about x-ray flux? That would also cause disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field wouldn't it? Am I right in thinking that this could be detected after 8 minutes?

    Please can someone confirm that I got this right. If not let me know what I got wrong.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2010 #2

    cepheid

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    As for the travel time, sure:

    http://www.google.ca/search?q=1+AU+...s=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    The solar wind consists of charged particles. It is my understanding that what they do is "interact" with the Earth's magnetic field. Charged particles will travel in spiral paths around magnetic field lines, and in this way, their motion will be confined in such a way as to travel along the field lines. That's why the aurorae tend to happen closer to the poles. Whether these particles can also "disupt" the magnetic field, and what that would mean, I do not know.

    Yeah, X-rays travel at the speed of light, but I don't know about them "disrupting" the magnetic field.
     
  4. Feb 18, 2010 #3
    Thanks cepheid that was very helpful.

    Can someone confirm whether the solar wind and the solar x-ray flux disrupt the Earth's magnetic field (ie cause increases in the estimated Kp).

    Thanks.
     
  5. Feb 22, 2010 #4
    I don't think that the disrupt the magnetic field. cepheid has it right, the charged particles interact with the magnetic field, evidence of this is presented at the poles in the form of aurorae. Earth's magnetic field repells the bombardment of particles via the Lorentz Force, so instead of the particles disrupting the field, they travel around it.

    It strikes me though, that if these charged particles were to disrupt our magnetic field, we would find ourselves in grave danger here on Earth.
     
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