Learn about the structure of the Sun and how it leads to coronal mass ejections that can affect Earth, in this pair of videos from NOVA: Eclipse Over America. The Sun is made of plasma—an extremely hot mixture of ions and electrons. Nuclear fusion in the Sun’s core releases energy as photons of light, which travel through the interior of the Sun to the photosphere. The diffuse outer atmosphere—the corona—extends far into space and is influenced by the Sun’s complex magnetic field. Animations illustrate how bends and twists in the magnetic field can form coronal loops and coronal mass ejections. Scientists are studying the Sun so that they can better predict solar storms, which could impact satellites, power grids, and communication systems on Earth.
To view the Teaching Tips for this media gallery, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA.
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