PPPL Scientists Take Key Step Toward Solving A Major

PPPL Scientists Take Key Step Toward Solving A Major Astrophysical Mystery

John Greenwald, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Magnetic reconnection can trigger geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and blackout power grids. But how reconnection, in which the magnetic field lines in...

Latest Geomagnetism Stories

third transient radiation belt
2014-08-29 16:20:37

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's twin Van Allen Probes will celebrate on Saturday two years of studying the sun's influence on our planet and near-Earth space. The probes, shortly after launch in August 2012, discovered a third radiation belt around Earth when only two had previously been detected. http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnvar/20081007/38461LOGO The radiation belts are layers of energetic charged particles held in place by the magnetic field surrounding...

January 2005 solar storm
2014-08-29 03:30:12

Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center A space weather storm from the sun engulfed our planet on Jan. 21, 2005. The event got its start on Jan. 20, when a cloud of solar material, a coronal mass ejection or CME, burst off the sun and headed toward Earth. When it arrived at our planet, the ring current and radiation belts surrounding Earth swelled with extra particles, while the aurora persisted for six hours. Both of these are usually signs of a very large storm – indeed, this...

aurora dances in the atmosphere
2014-08-21 10:07:12

Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center On the evening of Aug. 20, 2014, the International Space Station was flying past North America when it flew over the dazzling, green blue lights of an aurora. On board, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image of the aurora, seen from above. This auroral display was due to a giant cloud of gas from the sun – a coronal mass ejection or CME – that collided with Earth's magnetic fields on Aug. 19, 2014, at 1:57 a.m. EDT. This event set...

solar flare
2014-08-03 04:01:03

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online University of Bristol’s professor of Aerospace Engineering Ashley Dale cautions that “solar super-storms” are going to cause “catastrophic” and “long-lasting” impacts if we continue to ignore the threat of such storms. Dale is a member of the international task force SolarMAX, which was designed to identify the risks of a solar storm and how humanity could minimize the risks. He believes that a particularly violent...

mercury magnetic field
2014-08-01 03:45:58

Stuart Wolpert, University of California - Los Angeles Earth and Mercury are both rocky planets with iron cores, but Mercury's interior differs from Earth's in a way that explains why the planet has such a bizarre magnetic field, UCLA planetary physicists and colleagues report. Measurements from NASA's Messenger spacecraft have revealed that Mercury's magnetic field is approximately three times stronger at its northern hemisphere than its southern one. In the current research,...

july 23 2012 solar storm
2014-07-23 09:50:28

Dr. Tony Phillips, Science@NASA If an asteroid big enough to knock modern civilization back to the 18th century appeared out of deep space and buzzed the Earth-Moon system, the near-miss would be instant worldwide headline news. Two years ago, Earth experienced a close shave just as perilous, but most newspapers didn't mention it. The "impactor" was an extreme solar storm, the most powerful in as much as 150+ years. [ Watch: ScienceCasts: Carrington-Class CME Narrowly Misses Earth ]...

Van Allen Probes
2014-07-16 10:35:28

Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center One of the great, unanswered questions for space weather scientists is just what creates two gigantic donuts of radiation surrounding Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts. Recent data from the Van Allen Probes -- two nearly identical spacecraft that launched in 2012 -- address this question. The inner Van Allen radiation belt is fairly stable, but the outer one changes shape, size and composition in ways that scientists don't yet...

Monarch Butterflies Rely In Part On Magnetic Compass For Navigation
2014-06-25 07:52:07

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Mass migrations have puzzled scientists for decades, and perhaps none more so than the North American monarch butterfly. Each fall, millions of the beautiful orange and black winged insects begin their journey from the eastern US and Canada. They travel over 2,000 miles to winter in specific groves of fir trees in the Michoacan Mountains in central Mexico, where they crowd together so densely that the air is filled with butterflies,...

solar mini-max
2014-06-11 11:02:39

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Our Sun is constantly cycling between periods of low activity and high activity – known as solar minimum and solar maximum, or Solar Max, respectively. In 2008 and 2009, NASA’s solar experts reported they were surprised to see the Sun descend into one of its deepest solar minimums in recorded history. But now, NASA observers are saying that the solar minimum is almost over. [ Watch the Video: ScienceCasts: Solar Mini-Max ]...

MMS To Study Secrets Of Magnetic Reconnection
2014-05-16 03:36:18

Susan Hendrix, NASA In March 2015, NASA will launch four identical spacecraft to study how magnetic fields around Earth connect and disconnect, explosively releasing energy – a process known as magnetic reconnection. The Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission will provide the first three-dimensional views of this fundamental process that can accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light. MMS uses Earth’s protective magnetic space environment, the magnetosphere, as a natural...

Latest Geomagnetism Reference Libraries

2010-10-21 16:58:49

The compass is a tool that helps the user navigate using the Earth's magnetic poles by using a magnetized pointer that reacts to magnetic fields. Since a compass can be used to calculate a heading it quickly improved the safety and efficiency of travel, especially ocean travel. It has only recently been replaced by Global Positioning Systems. It works by indicating the direction of the magnetic north of a planet's magnetosphere. Generally the face of a compass highlights the north, south,...

Ring Current
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Ring Current -- A ring current is an electric current carried by charged particles trapped in a planet's magnetosphere. It is caused by the longitudinal drift of energetic (10-200 keV) particles. Earth's Ring Current Earth's ring current is responsible for geomagnetic storms. The ring current system consists of a band, at a distance of 3-5 RE(1), which lies in the equatorial plane and circulates clockwise around the Earth (when viewed from the north). The particles of this region...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Van Allen Radiation Belt -- The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles around Earth, trapped by Earth's magnetic field. The presence of a radiation belt had been theorized prior to the Space Age and the belt's presence was confirmed by the Explorer I on January 31, 1958 and Explorer III missions, under Doctor James Van Allen. The trapped radiation was first mapped out by Explorer IV and Pioneer III. Qualitatively, it is useful to view this belt as consisting...

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