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In this activity, students become familiar with Earth's changing magnetic field by constructing and analyzing graphic plots of solar storm activity. They discover that solar storms can buffet the magnetic field of the Earth with clouds of charged particles and magnetic fields and that these interactions affect the large-scale properties of the geomagnetic field, producing effects that can be easily detected on the ground. Students also learn that many magnetic observatories have been commissioned around the world to monitor Earth's surface field conditions and that these have been historically, important for navigation by ships at sea. The data from these observatories are used in this activity.
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