Cluster Helps Solve Mysteries of Geomagnetic Storms

Cluster and the Van Allen Probes in Earth’s magnetosphere. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/LASCO/EIT

In a powerful example of combining multi-mission satellite data with computer simulations, scientists have used ESA’s Cluster mission to reveal details about how electrons interact with waves in Earth’s magnetic environment. This research helps explain the behaviour of particles during geomagnetic storms and has significant implications for our understanding of space weather, which is in turn necessary to help protect space technology from the potentially harmful effects of energetic particles generated during such storms.

The Sun constantly bombards Earth with a flow of charged particles known as the solar wind. Powerful shocks arising in this flow can cause disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere – the protective bubble created by our planet’s magnetic field – which are known as geomagnetic storms.

U.C. Berkeley – Space Sciences Labs Chris Chaston and Art Hull are the 2nd and 3rd authors on this paper.

The Complete Story courtesy of ESA.