Space Weather

The Sun's influence affects the upper atmosphere of the Earth, above the "astronaut altitude" of  80 km where space is defined to begin here in the United States. Our CINDI mission is part of NASA's fleet of space-based missions studying the Sun and Sun-Earth connections.

As explained in the CINDI in Space comic book, the type of space weather scientists study with CINDI involves bubbles of ions in the Earth's ionosphere. Radio waves, a type of invisible light, are bent through these bubbles like visible light is through rising air over a hot road. Our Bubbler demonstration uses water-filled bottles with bubbles of lower density oil rising and distorting red light from a laser. 

Demo: The Bubbler and Radio Scintillation

An explanation of what the magnetosphere is, and how it interacts with the solar wind, is provided in our Magnetospheric Information Sheet. You can also learn about the interaction between the Earth's Magnetosphere and the solar wind with the third issue of our CINDI comic book series and in the video Sentinels of the Heliosphere.

University of Texas at Dallas 2012