The natural events happening beyond our protective atmosphere and magnetic field can have an impact on human activities, both on Earth and in space. Solar-terrestrial science is the study of the near-Earth space environment (or geospace), how it is affected by the Sun, and its complex interactions with the atmosphere.
Space weather refers to variable conditions in space, beginning with eruptions on the Sun, which cause disturbances in the Earth's space environment and magnetic field (E.g. solar storms and geomagnetic storms). In addition to causing spectacular aurora around the magnetic poles, the electromagnetic radiation and charged particles coming from space, can have a major impact on human activities, from damaging spacecraft electronics and threatening astronaut health to causing power outages on Earth. It is important that we understand these phenomena so that we can better predict and respond to potential threats and impacts.
Studying space weather
Because of the geographic location of the magnetic North Pole (in the Arctic), Canadian scientists have a privileged perspective on the auroras and space weather, using information collected by instruments on the ground and aboard satellites.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is supporting nine Canadian research teams that are studying space weather so that we better understand it and are better equipped to predict and respond to its effects.
Learn how the CSA is supporting the academic community in gathering data on geospace, conducting research, and transforming scientific knowledge into applications.
Since the Sun is so close to us, one might suppose that astronomers had figured out most of its secrets. But this is not so: each new instrument we point at our local star raises new questions.
Satellites and instruments
Operational satellites and instruments
THEMIS (NASA, 2007)
Three satellites and 20 ground-based observatories that gather information about the physical processes that lead to the explosive release of magnetic energy in substorms.
Eight science instruments that gather information on the ionosphere and aurora borealis to better understand the science and impact of space weather.
Swarm (ESA, 2013)
Three satellites that measure the Earth's magnetic field as it is generated by the Earth's core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere to advance understanding of the core-generated magnetic field and the processes of space weather.
More than 120 ground-based instruments that observe the near-Earth space environment (geospace) over Canada and provide scientists with data they use to understand the causes of space weather.
Non operational satellites and instruments
- Solar-Terrestrial Science Advisory Committee
- Satellites in our everyday lives – Security and defence
- Space Weather Canada (Natural Resources Canada)
- Date modified: