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Posts Tagged ‘magnetic field’

Lost in migration: Earth’s magnetic field overdue a flip

August 9, 2013 Comments off

gmanetwork.com

LONDON – The discovery by NASA rover Curiosity of evidence that water once flowed on Mars—the most Earth-like planet in the solar system—should intensify interest in what the future could hold for mankind.

The only thing stopping Earth having a lifeless environment like Mars is the magnetic field that shields us from deadly solar radiation and helps some animals migrate, and it may be a lot more fragile and febrile than one might think.

Scientists say earth’s magnetic field is weakening and could all but disappear in as little as 500 years as a precursor to flipping upside down.

It has happened before—the geological record suggests the magnetic field has reversed every 250,000 years, meaning that, with the last event 800,000 years ago, another would seem to be overdue.

“Magnetic north has migrated more than 1,500 kilometres over the past century,” said Conall Mac Niocaill, an earth scientist at Oxford University. “In the past 150 years, the strength of Read more…

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Categories: Earth, Earth changes Tags: ,

Scientists Stumped By Sun’s Asymmetrically Reversing Magnetic Field

April 27, 2012 2 comments

idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com

The Sun’s magnetic field is reversing, South becoming North, as it does approximately every 11 years on a cycle, but this time, something even stranger is going on: The North is moving much faster than the South, and space scientists aren’t sure why.

“Right now, there’s an imbalance between the north and the south poles,” Jonathan Cirtain, NASA’s project scientist for a Japanese solar mission called Hinode, in a recent article on NASA’s website. “The north is already in transition, well ahead of the south pole, and we don’t understand why.”

Further, the asymmetrically reversing solar magnetic field could have an effect on Earth, resulting in increased solar flares and the accompanying bursts of radioactive particles called “coronal mass ejections,” or CMEs, that can hit Earth and cause brilliant Northern Lights displays and problematic geomagnetic solar storms, according to NASA scientists.

“This usually leads to a double peak in the sunspot number and CME rate as a function of time,” Nat Gopalswamy, a solar scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in an email to TPM.

Gopalswamy and his team studied the Sun’s shifting magnetic field from Read more…

Categories: Sun Tags: ,

Eruptions of Magnetic Field Cause Sunquakes: Experts [VIDEO]

April 13, 2012 Comments off

ibtimes

Scientists have discovered that sunquakes are caused by huge eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles in the solar system.

A study led by UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has shown for the first time that sunquakes, which are powerful earthquakes caused on the sun’s atmosphere can be produced during eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles, as the immense magnetic structure blasts off into the solar system.

(Photo: Reuters)<br>Sunquakes caused by eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles

(Photo: Reuters)
Sunquakes caused by eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles

According to royal astronomical society, the first observation of a sunquake was reported in the late 1990s. Researchers then believed that solar flares alone caused sunquakes. But now the new study has shown that eruptions of charged particles known as coronal mass ejections are also able to produce sunquakes.

The authors studied an eruption that took place on 15 February 2011 and found that sunquakes that were triggered by magnetic field were 1,000 times more powerful than the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck in March 2011.

It was found that the sunquakes were triggered at the two ends of the erupting rope of Read more…

Categories: Sun Tags: , ,

Sun Delivered Curveball Of Powerful Radiation At Earth Say UNH Scientists

February 2, 2012 Comments off
nanopatentsandinnovations
A potent follow-up solar flare, which occurred Friday (Jan. 17, 2012), just days after the Sun launched the biggest coronal mass ejection (CME) seen in nearly a decade, delivered a powerful radiation punch to Earth’s magnetic field despite the fact that it was aimed away from our planet.According to University of New Hampshire scientists currently studying and modeling various aspects of solar radiation, this was due to both the existing population of energetic particles launched by the first CME and a powerful magnetic connection that reeled particles in towards Earth from the Sun’s blast region, which had spun to an oblique angle.”Energetic particles can sneak around the ‘corner,’ as was the case in Friday’s event when it was launched at the Sun’s limb, or edge,” says astrophysicist Harlan Spence, director of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) and principal investigator for the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) instrument onboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. CRaTER is designed to measure and characterize aspects of the deep space radiation environment.

Caption: Particle radiation from the Jan. 23, 2012 solar flare speeds away from the Sun along curved magnetic field lines (blue lines) and arrives before the coronal mass ejection (orange mass from the Sun) and its driven shock.

Image courtesy of Nathan Schwadron, UNH-EOS.
Space weather events can disrupt Earth-based power grids, satellites that Read more…

Earth’s Tallest Lightning Seen in Unprecedented Detail

July 27, 2011 Comments off

ouramazingplanet

jet lightningTrees form a horizon from which a gigantic jet emerges; the thunderstorm is 200 miles away. Credit: Steven Cummer

Mysterious and gigantic jets of lightning that shoot up to near the edge of space have now been observed in unprecedented detail, revealing just how much charge they pack and how they form.

More than 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, extreme ultraviolet radiation from the sun reacts with air molecules to produce highly charged particles, generating an energetic region known as the ionosphere.

In 2001, scientists discovered gigantic jets of lightning arcing up from clouds in the lowest portion of the atmosphere, the troposphere, to the ionosphere. These rarities apparently are caused by Read more…

Study finds global warming over past 400 years was due to increased Solar activity

June 9, 2011 Comments off

joannenova

Apparently previous studies of the sun-climate connection looked at the equatorial polar magnetic field which produces sun spots, but they did not consider the polar magnetic component of the solar dynamo. The polar fields are less strong than the equatorial fields, but it is claimed that the total magnetic fluxes of both fields are comparable. With proxy data they derive an empirical relation between tropospherical temperatures and solar equatorial and polar magnetic fields. The polar field could contribute about Read more…

Mystery of cosmic ray source bombarding the southern pole of Earth intensifies

May 9, 2011 Comments off

theextinctionprotocol

May 6, 2011 – ANTARCTICA – Cosmic rays crashing into the Earth over the South Pole appear to be coming from particular locations, rather than being distributed uniformly across the sky. Similar cosmic ray “hotspots” have been seen in the northern skies too, yet we know of no source close enough to produce this pattern. “We don’t know where they are coming from,” says Stefan Westerhoff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It’s a mystery because the hotspots must be produced within about 0.03 light years of Earth. Further out, galactic magnetic fields should deflect the particles so much that the hotspots would be smeared out across the sky. But no such sources are known to exist. One of the hotspots seen by IceCube points in the direction of the Vela supernova remnant, a possible source of cosmic rays, but it’s almost 1000 light years away. Cosmic rays coming from such large distances should be constantly buffeted and deflected by galactic magnetic fields on route, and should thus have lost all directionality by the time they reach Earth. In other words, such long-distance cosmic rays should appear to come from all parts of the sky. That’s not what has been observed. (Source article below) Read more…