NASA’s Van Allen probes discover particle accelerator in the heart of Earth’s radiation belt

Scientists have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, a region of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe called the Van Allen radiation belts. Scientists knew that something in space accelerated particles in the radiation belts to more than 99 percent the speed of light but they didn’t know what that something was. New results from NASA’s Van Allen Probes now show that the acceleration energy comes from within the belts themselves. Particles inside the belts are sped up by local kicks of energy, buffeting the particles to ever faster speeds, much like a perfectly timed push on a moving swing.
The discovery that the particles are accelerated by a local energy source is akin to the discovery that hurricanes grow from a local energy source, such as a region of warm ocean water. In the case of the radiation belts, the source is a region of intense electromagnetic waves, tapping energy from other particles located in the same region. Knowing the location of the acceleration will help scientists improve space weather predictions, because changes in the radiation belts can be risky for satellites near Earth.

Continue reading…
Image credit: G. Reeves/M. Henderson

NASA’s Van Allen probes discover particle accelerator in the heart of Earth’s radiation belt

Scientists have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, a region of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe called the Van Allen radiation belts. Scientists knew that something in space accelerated particles in the radiation belts to more than 99 percent the speed of light but they didn’t know what that something was. New results from NASA’s Van Allen Probes now show that the acceleration energy comes from within the belts themselves. Particles inside the belts are sped up by local kicks of energy, buffeting the particles to ever faster speeds, much like a perfectly timed push on a moving swing.

The discovery that the particles are accelerated by a local energy source is akin to the discovery that hurricanes grow from a local energy source, such as a region of warm ocean water. In the case of the radiation belts, the source is a region of intense electromagnetic waves, tapping energy from other particles located in the same region. Knowing the location of the acceleration will help scientists improve space weather predictions, because changes in the radiation belts can be risky for satellites near Earth.

Continue reading…

Image credit: G. Reeves/M. Henderson

  1. superhigh-schoollevelweenie reblogged this from pseudocoded
  2. pseudocoded reblogged this from apollolol
  3. apollolol reblogged this from distant-traveller
  4. kimssecretdiary reblogged this from distant-traveller
  5. mstrjedi-kyle reblogged this from distant-traveller
  6. earthrisespace reblogged this from distant-traveller
  7. nerdsmorgsboard reblogged this from distant-traveller
  8. schrodinger-is-in-the-box reblogged this from distant-traveller
  9. michael1171996 reblogged this from distant-traveller
  10. physicistintraining reblogged this from distant-traveller
  11. alonza-alzimora reblogged this from distant-traveller
  12. circuitdesign reblogged this from distant-traveller
  13. theanimalsoffloyd reblogged this from distant-traveller
  14. i-am-mcporn reblogged this from distant-traveller
  15. bekah-fucking-lee reblogged this from nevertheh3ro
  16. letsswiminthestars reblogged this from distant-traveller
  17. laikas-owner reblogged this from distant-traveller
  18. highenergyjewtrino reblogged this from distant-traveller
  19. johnriordan reblogged this from distant-traveller
  20. thep0po reblogged this from distant-traveller
  21. nevertheh3ro reblogged this from distant-traveller
  22. distant-traveller posted this

Theme NIGHTNIGHT by DEDDY

Hit Counter