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  • What is an aurora?

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    1. Colored curtains of light caused by charged particles of solar wind entering Earth’s atmosphere near the North or south Poles and making atoms of gas glow.
    2. Brightly patterned synthetic floor covering often used in homes with lots of pets.
    3. A kind of open-faced vegetarian sandwich traditional in Denmark.
    4. Ancient Greek goddess of confusing bright lights.
  • What is solar wind?

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    1. The constant blast of electrically charged particles from the Sun, blowing at about 600,000 to 2,000,000 miles per hour.
    2. What ancient Roman astronauts used to propel their sailboats through space.
    3. What happens when the Sun eats too many beans.
    4. The name of a 1980s heavy metal rock band.
  • What is solar weather?

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    1. The changing conditions in the space surrounding Earth that is affected by activity on the Sun.
    2. Spring-like weather that causes the brains of some teenagers to be temporarily replaced by a vacuum.
    3. An indication that there might be life on another planet.
    4. A term jokingly used by meteorologists to refer to weather they forecasted incorrectly.
  • What is a CME?

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    1. Coronal Mass Ejection, a violent storm on the Sun that blasts out huge amounts of fast-moving matter.
    2. Computed Monetary Elevator, the total market value of all the buildings built in one year by a tall building builder.
    3. Crunchy Monomorium Eradicator, a pesticide that gets rid of fungus infecting rice crops grown for making ready-to-eat cereals.
    4. Common Mechanical Explosion, a sudden release of energy caused when an assembly line robot is abruptly stopped in mid-process.
  • What is a solar flare?

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    1. An event on the Sun in which it emits a blast of extra energy, sending clouds of charged particles into space.
    2. A temper tantrum suffered by small children when left out in the Sun too long.
    3. The gas-fired flame used by executive chefs to create special burnt sugar desserts.
    4. A trendy window covering with lots of ruffles that is used on south-facing windows to help keep a home cool in summer.
  • What is plasma?

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    1. An electrically charged gas, such as the matter in the Sun.
    2. A special tonic that gives you the power of flight.
    3. A super slick liquid used to make extremely fast waterslides.
    4. A substance that magically shrinks you to the size of a molecule.
  • What is a solar cycle?

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    1. The repeated behavior of the Sun in which every 11 years, its activity level builds up to a maximum, then it settles back down to a minimum.
    2. A small, solar-powered, two-wheeled scooter.
    3. The time it takes for a student to forget about homework when the sun comes out.
    4. A Ferris wheel built to look like the Sun.
  • What is the magnetosphere?

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    1. The protective magnetic field surrounding Earth.
    2. A region of a country controlled by a leader with a magnetic personality.
    3. A homing pigeon’s home region, beyond which it will not stray.
    4. A sphere-shaped magnet illegally hidden inside a baseball to affect its spin and create a curve ball every time.
  • What is the heliosphere?

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    1. The region of space under the Sun’s influence, which ends where the solar wind meets the interstellar wind.
    2. A three-dimensional round sculpture painted with a mixture of pigment and beeswax, and fired in a kiln.
    3. A revolving stone disk used for grinding, polishing, or sharpening tools.
    4. An antibiotic taken orally for ringworm.
  • What is the photosphere?

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    1. The layer of the Sun from which the sunlight we see is emitted.
    2. A sunlit area on the floor where cats often prefer to nap.
    3. A glow around a bright object on a TV screen.
    4. A ball-shaped desk ornament, that holds several family pictures—often given as a Father's Day gift.
  • What is a corona?

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    1. The outermost layer of the Sun, which becomes visible during a total eclipse when the Moon “covers” the sphere of the Sun.
    2. A woman who practices magic.
    3. The ancient Greek goddess of carbonated beverages.
    4. A plastic hair accessory used to create a large bun on the top of the head.
  • What is an eclipse?

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    1. An event in which one object in space moves in front of another object in space.
    2. The intermission between halves of a game of Quidditch.
    3. Any of various plants used in building materials to make walls invisible.
    4. A tasty desert made from ice cream and bacon.
  • What is a transit?

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    1. A type of eclipse when a planet passes between Earth and the Sun (or any planet passes in front of its star from Earth’s point of view).
    2. A special ticket that allows you to travel to another dimension.
    3. A ceremony in which a person is officially accepted into the Army or Navy.
    4. A temporary railroad bridge across a deep and narrow gorge.
  • What are Sun spots?

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    1. Areas of particularly strong magnetic forces on the Sun's surface that appear darker than their surroundings because they are cooler.
    2. The center, dark area of a sun flower.
    3. Sweet snacks, made by the Misopiggy Candy Company, that have a yellow sugar coating on the outside and rich milk chocolate and chewy caramel on the inside.
    4. A Latin verse consisting of five meters, used only in Italian comedy skits.
  • What is a solar maximum?

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    1. The part of the 11-year solar cycle when the Sun is most active.
    2. The state of a solar-powered car when its batteries are fully charged.
    3. A style of home skylight that magnifies the sunlight striking the roof of the house.
    4. The amount of sunlight it takes for human to spontaneously transform into a butterfly.
  • What is a solar minimum?

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    1. The part of the 11-year solar cycle when the Sun least active.
    2. The minimum amount of sunlight it takes for a rooster to crow in the morning.
    3. The minimum amount of sunlight it takes for a person to stop playing a video game and go outside.
    4. A time when the Sun gives off very little sunlight because it is bored with just staying in the center of the Solar System all the time.
article last updated August 29, 2013
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