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Cosmic Rays Entering Earth: Dangerous Radiation Could Penetrate Cracked Magnetic Field

By Mandy Adams , Jan 03, 2017 09:52 AM EST
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Dangerous cosmic rays seen through India's monitors reveal that there is a crack in the magnetic field protecting the earth from high energy radiation. The galactic rays ejected by the sun's corona resulted to a colorful display of aurora borealis in high latitude countries.

The Cosmic Ray Laboratory at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research located in Ooty, Tamil Nadu. The GRAPES-3 muon telescope recorded a two-hour surge in the number of cosmic rays with energies amounting to 20 GeV.

Cosmic Rays Entering Earth

Cosmic rays come from a cloud of plasma from the sun's corona. The rays which were traveling at the speed of 2.5 kilometers per hour resulted in a geomagnetic storm. The magnetosphere, a layer of the Earth's atmosphere, protects the planet by diffusing cosmic rays. This first line of defense from the sun's high-energy rays might have a major problem.

Physical Review, a journal covering the same phenomenon, detailed the result of the cosmic rays. This surge in energy hitting the earth's atmosphere could put lives in jeopardy if not addressed properly. According to the GRAPES-3 team, which included Dr. Pravata K. Mohanty, there was a temporary crack in the magnetic shield. This crack was the result of magnetic reconnection. As a result, cosmic rays entering Earth made is past the atmosphere.

Catastrophic Solar Storms

As noted in Tech2, solar storms could cause major disruptions in satellite and global communications and in power grids. Although the aurorae borealis is a regular sight in countries near the magnetic poles, a major solar storm can cause a lot of damage.

A report by Macedonia Online noted that US President Barack Obama was also concerned of a major disruption. In October 2016, he issued an executive order calling for greater accuracy in space weather forecasts. The same ruling called for proper preparation in case a major geomagnetic disturbance threatens the electrical power grid.

The biggest solar storm recorded was the Carrington Event in 1859. It disrupted the communication between two continents. Predictive Science senior researcher Pete Riley projected a 12 percent chance that the same event will happen in 2020. Given the threats posed by cosmic rays entering Earth, proper preparation is definitely warranted.

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