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Topic: Radiation Belt

NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes spacecraft discover stripe pattern in one radiation belt around Earth

 

Written by Geoff Brown / Karen C. Fox
APL / NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Scientists have discovered a new, persistent structure in one of two radiation belts surrounding Earth. NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes spacecraft have shown that high-energy electrons in the inner radiation belt display a persistent pattern that resembles slanted zebra stripes.

Surprisingly, this structure is produced by the slow rotation of Earth, previously considered incapable of affecting the motion of radiation belt particles, which have velocities approaching the speed of light.

Two giant belts of radiation surround Earth. The inner belt is dominated by electrons and the outer one by protons.  (NASA)

Two giant belts of radiation surround Earth. The inner belt is dominated by electrons and the outer one by protons.
(NASA)

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NASA’s Van Allen Probes find third Radiation Belt around the Earth

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Earth’s radiation belts were one of the first discoveries of the Space Age. A new finding published in today’s issue of Science shows that we still have much to learn about them. NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes, launched just last August, have revealed a previously unknown third radiation belt around Earth.

“Even 55 years after their discovery, Earth’s radiation belts still are capable of surprising us,” said Nicky Fox, Van Allen Probes deputy project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics  Laboratory in Laurel, MD. “We thought we knew the radiation belts, but we don’t.”

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NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes sheds light on the mysteries surrounding Earth’s Radiation Belt System

 

Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL)

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationLaurel, MD – Just 96 days since their launch, NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes have already provided new insights into the structure and behavior of the radiation belts that surround Earth, giving scientists a clearer understanding about the fundamental physical properties of these regions more than half a century after their discovery.

In a press conference at the American Geophysical Union’s 2012 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, members of the Van Allen Probes science team discussed current findings made in unlocking the mysteries of the radiation belts.

A graphic depicting the twin Van Allen Probes in orbit within Earth's magnetic field. (Credit: JHU/APL)

A graphic depicting the twin Van Allen Probes in orbit within Earth’s magnetic field. (Credit: JHU/APL)

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NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes record electromagnetic phenomenon “EarthSong”

 

Written Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In space, they say, no one can hear you scream.

Nobody ever said anything about singing, though. A NASA spacecraft has just beamed back a beautiful song sung by our own planet.

“It’s called chorus,” explains Craig Kletzing of the University of Iowa. “This is one of the clearest examples we’ve ever heard.”

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NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes launched Thursday from Cape Canaveral to study the Van Allen Belts

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Since the dawn of the Space Age, mission planners have tried to follow one simple but important rule: Stay out of the Van Allen Belts. The two doughnut-shaped regions around Earth are filled with “killer electrons,” plasma waves, and electrical currents dangerous to human space travelers and their spacecraft. Lingering is not a good idea.

So much for the old rules. NASA has launched two spacecraft directly into the radiation belts–and this time they plan to stay a while.

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