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Listen&Learn: The Solar Corona

Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about the outer atmosphere of the Sun.
Solar Eclipse
The Sun’s corona during a total solar eclipse

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • atmosphere: the layer of gas surrounding a planet or star
  • puzzle: a situation that is difficult to understand
  • chaotic: confusing and unpredictable
  • magnetic: having a strong force of attraction
  • monitor: to watch something carefully
  • eclipse: an event where the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun
  • obscure: to make something hard to see

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The outer atmosphere of the Sun is called the corona. It is a thin layer of charged gas that extends for millions of . It is actually about 300 times than the Sun’s surface, which is an ongoing puzzle for scientists. The corona is a chaotic environment, and it sometimes releases large amounts of magnetic matter into space. This is called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Scientists monitor CMEs because they can damage the grid on Earth. Most of the time, the corona is to see with the naked eye. The surface of the Sun is so that it completely outshines the light from the outer layers. However, the corona can be seen briefly during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon obscures the Sun from view.

Comprehension questions

See answers below

  1. The corona is
    a. 300 times cooler than the surface of the Sun
    b. 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun
    c. 300 times cooler than the surface of the Earth
  2. On Earth, coronal mass ejections can cause
    a. severe storms
    b. extremely high temperatures
    c. damage to the power grid
  3. The corona is only visible during
    a. a CME
    b. a solar flare
    c. a total solar eclipse

Discussion/essay questions

  1. In 1859, a CME caused telegraph stations around the world to burn out. Because we depend so much on technology, a CME of the same size today would cause major damage. What do you think the world would be like without any modern technology?

Transcript

The outer atmosphere of the Sun is called the corona. It is a thin layer of charged gas that extends for millions of kilometres. It is actually about 300 times hotter than the Sun’s surface, which is an ongoing puzzle for scientists. The corona is a chaotic environment, and it sometimes releases large amounts of magnetic matter into space. This is called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Scientists monitor CMEs because they can damage the power grid on Earth. Most of the time, the corona is impossible to see with the naked eye. The surface of the Sun is so bright that it completely outshines the light from the outer layers. However, the corona can be seen briefly during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon obscures the Sun from view.

Answers to comprehension questions

1b 2c 3c

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

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