Sam blogs about all kinds of science at www.samanthagouldson.com.
This weekend the Earth is due to be hit by a pair of solar storms that might affect radio and satellite communication. But how and why does this happen?
What Does Solar Mean?
Anything that is related to a sun is commonly described as being solar. Our sun is a typical medium-sized yellow star which is about 5 billion years old. Its surface temperature is about 5,500°C, but even that isn’t as hot as its superheated centre. Some parts of the sun’s surface are cooler, with a temperature of between 2,700–4,200°C, and these appear darker when viewed through specialised telescopes. These cooler patches are caused by fluctuations in the sun’s magnetism and are called sun spots.