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Radiation Belts with Satellites
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Radiation Belts with Satellites

October 31, 2013
A cutaway model of the radiation belts with the 2 Van Allen Probes satellites flying through them. The radiation belts are two donut-shaped regions encircling Earth, where high-energy particles, mostly electrons and ions, are trapped by Earth’s magnetic field. This radiation is a kind of “weather” in space, analogous to weather on Earth, and can affect the performance and reliability of our technologies, and pose a threat to astronauts and spacecraft. The inner belt extends from about one to eight thousand miles above Earth’s equator. The outer belt extends from about 12 to 25 thousand miles. This graphic also shows other satellites near the region of trapped radiation. Credit: NASA