NASA and university scientists are watching the Sun in an effort to learn how better to predict space weather ‚ blasts of particles from the Sun that impact the magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble around the Earth.

With improvements in solar-storm prediction methods, scientists are looking toward advancements that may offer the opportunity to issue solar-weather watches, similar to tornado watches. This advance warning will give people on Earth more time to prepare by placing satellites in a safe configuration, planning the best time for astronaut space walks or rocket launches, and implementing contingency plans to deal with any power outages.