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The Sun-Earth Connection: Heliophysics Overview

Heliophysics Missions

Artist rendition of SDO spacecraft View all the current Heliophysics Missions
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Science Mission Directorate

Graphic representing the various Heliophysics disciplines; Sun, Earth, Space Weather, Near-Earth Space and the Magnetosphere. Understanding the Sun, Heliosphere, and Planetary Environments as a single connected system is a goal of the Heliophysics Research Program.
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Heliophysics 101

 

What is Heliophysics?

Artist concept of space weather showing an active Sun with flares and a CME in the upper left, the Earth in the lower right with types of technology affected by space weather to the lower left; satellites, airplanes, the ISS and ground-based electrical lines. › View larger
Credit: NASA

The Study of the Sun and its Interaction with Earth and the Solar System is called Heliophysics.

It requires viewing the sun, heliosphere, and planetary environments as elements of a single interconnected system – one that contains dynamic space weather, and that evolves in response to solar, planetary and interstellar conditions.

The role of NASA’s Heliophysics Division is to answer the following questions about this systems behavior.

  • - What causes the sun to vary?
  • - How do the Earth and the heliosphere respond?
  • - What are the impacts on humanity?

 

Heliophysics Mission Statement

 

At the center of our solar system there is a magnetic variable star, our Sun, that affects the planets, including the Earth, and sculptures the flows of interplanetary space itself. Heliophysics is the study of the Sun's influence throughout the solar system and, in particular, its connection to the Earth and the Earth’s extended space environment. The science of Heliophysics provides not only cultural and intellectual benefits to society, research results have direct economic and political impact in modern society.

 

The Sun-Earth Connection

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Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Holly Zell