What does the solar wind do? The solar wind is responsible for the overall shape of Earth’s magnetosphere. Fluctuations in its speed, density, direction, and entrained magnetic field strongly affect Earth’s local space environment.
What is the solar wind and what causes it? The solar wind is created by the outward expansion of plasma (a collection of charged particles) from the Sun’s corona (outermost atmosphere). This plasma is continually heated to the point that the Sun’s gravity can’t hold it down. It then travels along the Sun’s magnetic field lines that extend radially outward.
What are three effects of the solar wind? The Sun produces a solar wind — a continuous flow of charged particles — that can affect us on Earth. It can, for example, disrupt communications, navigation systems, and satellites. Solar activity can also cause power outages, such as the extensive Canadian blackout in 1989.
How strong is the solar wind? The average constant solar wind speed at Earth is around 190 miles (300 km) per second (mps) according to the space weather forecast website SpaceWeatherLive.com. The solar wind travels at average speeds of 0.87 million mph (1.4 million km/h).