Latest Van Allen radiation belt Stories
Data from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission has helped researchers resolve decades of scientific uncertainty over the origin of ultra-relativistic electrons in Earth's near space environment.
New research published in the journal Nature resolves decades of scientific controversy over the origin of the extremely energetic particles known as ultra-relativistic electrons in the Earth's near-space environment and is likely to influence our understanding of planetary magnetospheres throughout the universe.
Researchers used data from the Van Allen Probes to reveal that the high-energy particles populating the radiation belts can be accelerated to nearly the speed of light. This finding comes on the heels of a related discovery showing similar particle acceleration but on a microscopic, rather than planetary, scale.
When Alvin Boutte presented his graduate work at the 2010 National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Aerospace Systems Conference in Los Angeles, Calif., he had no idea that he was about to connect with someone that would be instrumental in guiding his career. In attendance was Anthony Sanders from the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate (AETD) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
At the dawn of the space race, as two global powers jockeyed for technological supremacy, the ultimate goal was to be the first to send astronauts into space and onto the Moon. While space exploration is rife with challenges, one hurdle in particular brought into question whether man would ever leave low Earth orbit: the Van Allen radiation belts.
For more than half a century, the invisible bubble created by Earth's magnetic field - the magnetosphere - has been studied by space missions.
NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes entered their second year of service Friday having already provided a wealth of new information about the layers of energetic charged particles located above our planet.
Scientists have long believed that the Van Allen radiation belts, discovered in the Earth’s upper atmosphere in 1958, consisted of two doughnut-shaped rings of highly charged particles. The inner ring is comprised of high-energy electrons and energetic positive ions, and the outer ring of high-energy electrons.
In Antarctica in January, 2013 – the summer at the South Pole – scientists released 20 balloons, each eight stories tall, into the air to help answer an enduring space weather question: when the giant radiation belts surrounding Earth lose material, where do the extra particles actually go?
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...