Space Weather & Space Climate

A solar flare


A coronagraph, which is a specialized astronomic instrument that allows scientists to block out the direct light from our Sun in order to study the Sun's corona

Our Sun constantly emits solar radiation and energetic particles, which cause space weather and space climate.  The effects of this can be as beautiful as aurora and as damaging as power outages.  Explore the resources below to learn more!


What is an eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, blocking the Sun's light. This can create a shadow on Earth, where the sky darkens and the Sun looks like a dark disk or a ring of light. Solar eclipses can be total, partial, or annular, depending on how much of the Sun's light is blocked.

Cultural Beliefs Surrounding Eclipses

Native American cultures have diverse views on eclipses. For example, the Navajo people believe that an eclipse is a sacred time when the sun and moon are interacting. They treat eclipses with reverence and prayer, and they often stay indoors during an eclipse. The Shoshone-Bannock tribes in Idaho believed that bad things would happen to bad people during eclipses. The Pawnee people of Oklahoma saw eclipses as a time of sorrow, as they believed that an eclipse meant that a great leader was going to die. Overall, eclipses are seen by Native Americans as a time of great spiritual significance. They are an opportunity to connect with the natural world and the spirit realm.

Check out these resources on Navajo knowledge of the Cosmos and how other Native American beliefs or protocols concerning the eclipse.

Eclipse Glasses

Would you like to view the eclipse through one of our specially designed eclipse glasses? Request Eclipse Glasses here! Please use this form to request glasses to view the October 14th 2023 annular eclipse and the April 8th 2024 total solar eclipse.

These glasses are free of charge, and are offered through the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Education, Engagement and Early-Career Development (EdEC) Engagement section. Requests will be fulfilled, when possible, on a first-come-first-served basis. We’re offering shipment via prepaid FedEx labels or local pickup at specific locations/times. You will not be able to pick up glasses at the Mesa Laboratory outside of the delivery windows we establish. Further details will come via email. 

Total Solar Eclipse

April 8th, 2024

Folks in Mexico, across much of the continental United States, and eastern Canada will have the opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse. This chance is a rare opportunity, and one that will not come back through the continental US until 2045!

Total Solar Eclipses and the Corona

How do scientists use total solar eclipses to study the outer atmosphere of our Sun, known as the corona?  We talk with NCAR scientist Dr. Paul Bryans to learn more.

Path of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Interactive Google Map of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

NCAR Field Campaigns

A field campaign is a scientific investigation that takes place outside of a laboratory. Scientists go to a specific place or country to collect data and make observations. They use this data to learn more about the natural world and how it works. Scientists use a variety of tools and equipment to collect data, such as cameras, telescopes, dropsondes, even planes! Field campaigns can be short or long and they are an important part of scientific research and help us learn more about our world.

Check out some of the field campaigns and other ways NCAR studies solar eclipses!

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NCAR Explorer Series Lectures

Explore the science of space weather and space climate, and the people studying them, with these science lectures and discussions:

MetEd Learning Modules

COMET MetEd logo


MetEd is a free collection of hundreds of training resources on a variety of topics within the Earth system sciences offered through The COMET® Program. A free account is needed to access the modules, which are available in many languages.

UCAR Center for Science Education's Learning Zone

From photos to puzzles to simulations, check out all the learning activities related to space weather and space climate from UCAR SciEd.