Scientists Tackle Breach In Earth's Magnetic Field

In a rare opportunity, scientists were able to record how a burst of cosmic rays cause openings within Earth’s magnetic field as it progresses. This left experts the assumption that a magnetic field breach results from the sun’s charged particles hitting Earth in high speed of about gigaelectronvolts (GeV). These activities were monitored using the GRAPES-3 muon telescope. This equipment can be found in the Cosmic Ray Laboratory (CRL) in Ooty, Southern India.

According to Dr. Sunil Gupta, lead scientist, one of their cases show that a magnetic field was breached for only two hours before it normalized again. They also noted a 2% reduction in the magnetic field’s strength. Called the magnetosphere, the Earth’s magnetic field serves as a protection of our planet’s biosphere against continuous flow of solar and cosmic radiation. It can extend over a million kilometers in radius. Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are vast clouds of charged particles periodically ejected into space from the sun.

The BBC reported that the GRAPES-3 team performed numerical situations during the course of the magnetic field breach. The group indicated that the magnetic shield temporarily opened up in response to the incoming solar plasma. This also allowed the entry of galactic cosmic ray particles with lower energy into our atmosphere.

Gupta said that their recorded data gave them “more comprehensive information” over a larger region of space than the satellite based instruments. He also added that the GRAPES-3 Muon telescope enabled accidental observations through large areas and directional measurement.

According to Science Direct, cosmic rays are a possible link complementing solar activity to atmospheric processes. It also said that ions can affect atmosphere through three processes. First, through charge-dependent chemical reactions. Second, through charge-dependent droplet and ice crystal formation. Third, by influencing the current flow of global electric circuit. NASA 2020 will be launched to study cosmic x-rays from black holes.

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