NASA Discovers New Radiation Belt Around Earth
2013 03 01

By Charles Q. Choi | SPACE.com

image

A ring of radiation previously unknown to science fleetingly surrounded Earth last year before being virtually annihilated by a powerful interplanetary shock wave, scientists say.

NASA’s twin Van Allen space probes, which are studying the Earth’s radiation belts, made the cosmic find. The surprising discovery — a new, albeit temporary, radiation belt around Earth — reveals how much remains unknown about outer space, even those regions closest to the planet, researchers added.

After humanity began exploring space, the first major find made there were the Van Allen radiation belts, zones of magnetically trapped, highly energetic charged particles first discovered in 1958.

"They were something we thought we mostly understood by now, the first discovery of the Space Age," said lead study author Daniel Baker, a space scientist at the University of Colorado.

These belts were believed to consist of two rings: an inner zone made up of both high-energy electrons and very energetic positive ions that remains stable in intensity over the course of years to decades; and an outer zone comprised mostly of high-energy electrons whose intensity swings over the course of hours to days depending primarily on the influence from the solar wind, the flood of radiation streaming from the sun.

The discovery of a temporary new radiation belt now has scientists reviewing the Van Allen radiation belt models to understand how it occurred.



Radiation rings around Earth

The giant amounts of radiation the Van Allen belts generate can pose serious risks for satellites. To learn more about them, NASA launched twin spacecraft, the Van Allen probes, in the summer of 2012.

The satellites were armed with a host of sensors to thoroughly analyze the plasma, energetic particles, magnetic fields and plasma waves in these belts with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.

Unexpectedly, the probes revealed a new radiation belt surrounding Earth, a third one made of super-high-energy electrons embedded in the outer Van Allen belt about 11,900 to 13,900 miles (19,100 to 22,300 kilometers) above the planet’s surface. This stable ring of space radiation apparently formed on Sept. 2 and lasted for more than four weeks.

"The feature was so surprising, I initially foolishly thought the instruments on the probes weren’t working properly, but I soon realized the lab had built such wonderful instruments that there wasn’t anything wrong with them, so what we saw must be true," Baker said.

This newfound radiation belt then abruptly and almost completely disappeared on Oct. 1. It was apparently disrupted by an interplanetary shock wave caused by a spike in solar wind speeds.

"More than five decades after the original discovery of these radiation belts, you can still find new unexpected things there," Baker said. "It’s a delight to be able to find new things in an old domain. We now need to re-evaluate them thoroughly both theoretically and observationally."


On Aug. 31, 2012, a giant prominence on the sun erupted, sending out particles and a shock wave that traveled near Earth. This event may have been one of the causes of a third radiation belt that appeared around Earth a few days later, a phenomenon that was observed for the very first time by the newly-launched Van Allen Probes. This image of the prominence before it erupted was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

A radiation mystery

It remains uncertain how this temporary radiation belt arose. Van Allen mission scientists suspect it was likely created by the solar wind tearing away the outer Van Allen belt.

"It looks like its existence may have been bookended by solar disturbances," Baker said.

Future study of the Van Allen belts can reveal if such temporary rings of radiation are common or rare.

"Do these occur frequently, or did we get lucky and see a very rare circumstance that happens only once in a while?" Baker said. "And what other unusual revelations might come now that we are really looking at these radiation belts with new, modern tools?"

The scientists detailed their findings online Feb. 28 in the journal Science.

Article from: space.com




Tune into Red Ice Radio:

David Talbott - Lightning Scarred Planet Mars & The Electric Sun

Wallace Thornhill - The Electric Universe

Donald E. Scott - The Electric Sky

Susan Joy Rennison - A New Cosmic Age, Space Weather & Cosmic Radiation

David Icke - The Cosmic Firewall & The Moon Matrix

Paul A. LaViolette - Earth Under Fire, Galactic Superwaves & Subquantum Kinetics

Jay Weidner - Hour 1 - Kubrick’s Odyssey: How Stanley Faked the Moon Landings

Mike Bara - Dark Mission, The Occult NASA Moon Mission





Related Articles
Space Radiation Expected to Rise for Airline Passengers and Astronauts
Too much radiation for astronauts to make it to Mars
NASA twin satellites to probe mysteries of the Van Allen belts
What are space radiation effects?
Marcus Allen of Nexus Magazine : The Moon Landings Fact or Fiction
Moon landing tapes got erased, NASA admits
New Discovery Provides Unprecedented Control of Magnetic Fields
Earth’s Magnetic Field Made Quick Flip- Flop
Scientist Finds Hidden Portals in Earth’s Magnetic Field


Latest News from our Front Page

France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms
2014 08 22
President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that France had delivered weapons to rebels battling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad “a few months ago.” The deliveries took place “a few months ago, when the Syrian rebels had to face both the armies of the dictator Bashar al-Assad and this terrorist group Islamic State,” Hollande told reporters on a tour of the ...
Brooklyn DA exposes hidden Child Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community
2014 08 22
Comment: We all know that the sex abuse cases within the Catholic church have been plastered all over the media in the last 6-8 years, but when do you ever hear about the rapes, sexual molestation and child sex abuse cases within the jewish orthodox community? Is the media helping to cover it? Will they give the same treatment of ...
California’s Economic Collision Course: Immigration and Water
2014 08 22
You have heard it before: “As California goes, so goes the nation.” If that is the case, the national economy will be harmed for decades to come because of California’s misplaced priorities today. Indeed, by emphasizing high-speed rail over water and failing to deal with its debt crisis, California poses a long-term threat to our national economy and ...
ISIS offered to swap Foley for ’Lady Al Qaeda’ - neuroscientist MIT-graduate
2014 08 21
An MIT-educated neuroscientist terrorist known as ’Lady al Qaeda’ was named on a ’laundry list’ of demands from ISIS captors holding James Foley named, it was revealed today. Petite mother-of-three Aafia Siddiqui is currently serving 86 years in a Texas jail after being arrested with plans for a ’mass casualty attack’ in the US, including infecting people with Ebola and a ...
James Foley beheaded - Financed by USA
2014 08 21
John McCain is a traitorous piece of garbage. Last year McCain worked with the "Syrian Emergency Task Force" to help overthrow the Syrian government. Investigative work (see the detailed article below) revealed that this task force was just a front organization for AIPAC. McCain met with known terrorists, including the infamous al-Qaeda. Yeah, the terrorist organization that was behind 9/11 received aid ...
More News »