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15 November 2017
New research using data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission and FIREBIRD II CubeSat has shown that a common plasma wave in space is likely responsible for the impulsive loss of high-energy electrons into Earth’s atmosphere.
24 July 2017
The space surrounding our planet is full of restless charged particles and roiling electric and magnetic fields, which create waves around Earth. One type of wave, plasmaspheric hiss, is particularly important for removing charged particles from the Van Allen radiation belts, a seething coil of particles encircling Earth, which can interfere with satellites and telecommunications. A new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, used data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes spacecraft to discover that hiss is more complex than previously understood.
10 April 2017
ESA’s Cluster mission is challenging the current view of magnetic reconnection – the breaking and immediate rearrangement of magnetic field lines in the collision of two plasma flows. According to a new study, most of the energy dissipated during a reconnection event is not released at the crossings, or X-lines, between the two plasma flows but rather in swirling vortices, or O-lines, where magnetic field lines bundle up and spiral together. The new finding, which contradicts the accepted consensus, is an important step in the process of understanding the mechanisms that accelerate particles in space plasma.
4 April 2017
Aircrews and frequent fliers may soon experience an uptick in radiation exposure due to the upcoming low point in the solar cycle, when weak solar activity provides less protection against cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.
3 April 2017
New observations of Uranus being buffeted by shock waves from the sun have revealed auroral activity and fresh clues to the workings of the seventh planet’s unusual magnetosphere, the region of space dominated by its magnetic field.
3 March 2017
In a new study, scientists from NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research find the warning signs of one type of space weather event can be detected tens of minutes earlier than with current forecasting techniques – critical extra time that could help protect astronauts in space.
5 July 2016
New research into the movements of dust around Jupiter’s four largest moons could help scientists searching for life in our solar system, according to a new study. This moon dust around Jupiter could give scientists clues about the composition of the surface of its satellites.
19 May 2016
New findings based on a year’s worth of observations from NASA’s Van Allen Probes have revealed that the ring current — an electrical current carried by energetic ions that encircles our planet — behaves in a much different way than previously understood.
19 January 2016
Researchers who have spent thousands of hours observing the atmosphere high above Antarctica have discovered a previously unknown class of wave that ripples constantly through the atmosphere, likely affecting high-level winds, climate, and even Earth-based communications systems.