Latest Jets Stories

2008-12-17 10:10:00

Researchers announced on Thursday that current satellite surveillance has exposed the biggest breach ever seen in the magnetic field that shields the Earth from the majority of the sun's aggressive rays. The unearthing was found last summer by Themis, a group of five NASA satellites. Scientists have known for a long time that the Earth's magnetic field, which protects us from harsh space weather, is comparable to an older home lets in brutal eruptions of charged particles from the sun. This...

2008-12-16 15:40:00

NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth's magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. Solar wind can flow in through the opening to "load up" the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed at the strange and unexpected way it forms, overturning long-held ideas of space physics. "At first I didn't believe it," says THEMIS project scientist David Sibeck...

2008-12-13 16:20:00

A detailed analysis of the measurements of five different satellites has revealed the existence of the warm plasma cloak, a new region of the magnetosphere, which is the invisible shield of magnetic fields and electronically charged particles that surround and protect Earth from the onslaught of the solar wind. The study was conducted by a team of scientists headed by Charles "Rick" Chappell, research professor of physics and director of the Dyer Observatory at Vanderbilt University and...

2008-12-12 13:21:44

Members of the MESSENGER science team will present a range of new findings from the spacecraft's studies of the planet Mercury during the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting next week in San Francisco. "The principal goal of the MESSENGER mission is to gather global observations of Mercury from orbit about the planet, beginning in 2011, but our first two flybys produced a wonderful abundance of new information about the least known of our sister planets," says MESSENGER Principal...

2008-11-04 12:30:00

The development of a magnetic shield could have great implications for the future of space travel. Space weather is the single greatest obstacle to deep space travel, according to international space agencies. Radiation from the sun and cosmic rays pose a deadly threat to astronauts in space. Scientists announced on Tuesday that a spaceship equipped with a magnetic field generator could reduce the threat to acceptable levels. The magnetic field generator mimics the protective field that...

2008-10-31 05:45:00

During the time it takes you to read this article, something will happen high overhead that until recently many scientists didn't believe in. A magnetic portal will open, linking Earth to the sun 93 million miles away. Tons of high-energy particles may flow through the opening before it closes again, around the time you reach the end of the page. "It's called a flux transfer event or 'FTE,'" says space physicist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Ten years ago I was pretty sure...

2008-09-17 14:20:00

XMM-Newton has uncovered a well-tuned periodic signal from a super-massive black hole lodged at the centre of a galaxy, ending a long quest for such an object. The discovery provides scientists with a clearer picture on black hole accretion processes and an excellent tool to study active galactic nuclei (AGNs). These periodic signals originating from the black hole are emitted in X-rays, which are blocked out by the Earth's atmosphere. So the team used data from ESA's orbiting X-ray...

2008-05-29 12:50:00

GREENBELT, Md. -- NASA scientists have uncovered new details about how plasma from superstorms interact with Earth's magnetosphere. "The surprising result of this model is that the magnetosphere's main phase pressure is dominated by energetic protons from the plasmasphere, rather than from the solar wind," says Mei-Ching Fok, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Fok and her team will present their findings on May 29 at the American Geophysical Union...

2008-04-29 00:20:00

As far as endings go, this one's a real heart breaker. NASA's Polar satellite concludes its successful mission at the end of April with a breathtaking visible-light image of the colorful dancing lights of the aurora. The Polar team has dubbed this final image "The Broken Heart." When the Polar satellite launched February 24, 1996, the plan was for a two-year science mission to study the lights that form a ring around Earth's north and south magnetic poles, known as the Northern and Southern...

2008-04-25 15:35:00

An international team of scientists has detected that some of the glow of Earth's aurora is polarized, an unexpected state for such emissions. Measurements of this newfound polarization in the Northern Lights may provide scientists with fresh insights into the composition of Earth's upper atmosphere, the configuration of its magnetic field, and the energies of particles from the Sun, the researchers say.If observed on other planets, the phenomenon might also give clues to the shape of the...

Latest Jets Reference Libraries

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

Microquasar -- Microquasars are smaller cousins of quasars. They are named after quasars, as they have some common characteristics: strong and variable radio emission often seen as radio jets, and an accretion disk surrounding a black hole. In quasars, the black hole is supermassive (millions of solar masses) as in microquasars, the black hole mass is a few solar masses. In microquasars, the accreted mass comes from a normal star and the accretion disk is very luminous in optical regions...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Aurora -- The Polar Aurora are natural displays of light in the sky that can be seen with the unaided eye only at night. An auroral display in the Northern Hemisphere is called the aurora borealis, or the northern lights; in the Southern Hemisphere it is called the aurora australis. Auroras are the most visible effect of the sun's activity on the earth's atmosphere. The beautiful and often eerie curtains of light in the night time sky have been observed by people for millennia. An aurora...

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...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Wind -- Solar wind, a stream of particles (mostly high-energy protons ~ 500 Kev) that is continually ejected from the surface of the Sun. The composition of this plasma is identical to the Sun's corona, 73% hydrogen and 25% helium with the remainder as trace impurities, and is ionized. Near Earth, the velocity of the solar wind varies from 200km/s-889km/s. The average is 450 km/s. Approximately 3000 tons of material is lost from the Sun every hour as solar wind. Since solar...

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Word of the Day
  • A fool; a simpleton: a term of abuse common in Ireland and to a less extent in the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland.
This word is partly Irish in origin.