(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — Similar to the weather we track on earth, space is full of dynamic weather patterns that can have big impacts on us here on Earth. But what is space weather?

Space weather is monitored every day and the National Weather Service is one of many operations that track it.

Instead of rain or snow, space weather is made up of radiation and particles from the sun and it can create the most extreme space weather – sun explosions. 

Photo: NASA

Solar flares, solar wind and geomagnetic storms are examples of space weather that can happen and cause huge disruptions on Earth. 

Some areas could lose radio and cell signals, power grids, GPS systems, and huge electrical blackouts. 

Luckily, the Earth has a large magnetic field that acts as an umbrella to protect us from most of these big events. 

An illustration of the Sun interacting with Earth’s magnetosphere. Photo: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

A benefit of these sun explosions is the northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. The phenomenon creates beautiful colors in the sky near the poles. 

Photo: NASA

It’s important for scientists and meteorologists to track space weather to know what may reach Earth’s surface. With forecasting and proper preparation, these disruptive effects can be largely avoided.

The United States government maintains a webpage with information about what to do if space weather causes a power outage or other damage.

The Space Weather Prediction Center, located in Boulder, issues space weather forecasts daily. For more information and a look at the forecasts they create, click here.

Keep up to date with the latest weather and more on FOX21’s Storm Team Weather App.