Scientists say our magnetosphere was key to helping Earth develop into a habitable planet. This magnetic bubble deflects most of the solar material sweeping towards us from our star at 1 million miles (1.6 million km) per hour or more. Without the magnetosphere, the relentless action of these solar particles could strip the Earth of the protective layers that shield us from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
Bottom line: NASA ScienceCasts video on Earth’s magnetosphere.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.