‘Dent’ in Earth’s magnetic field slowly expanding: Scientists
Aug 20 2020
The true nature behind this slowly evolving "dent" in the magnetic field has not been fully established and the challenge now is to understand the processes in Earth's core driving these changes.
According to scientists, Earth's magnetic field acts like a protective shield, blocking and trapping charged particles - or radiation - from the sun that could otherwise cause harm but are more likely to affect electronic equipment, like satellites.
Earth's magnetic field, produced by swirling convective currents of molten iron 300 kilometres beneath our feet, is weakening at a certain spot say scientists at NASA, a small, but growing problem that could disrupt satellites and spacecraft say the space agency. This will result in interference in the data collection by knocking out satellites' computers. Moreover, it's splitting into two lobes, rather than one large one, which will cause further headaches for managing satellite missions. While it is not thought to be risky to human beings, gurus say the weak place could induce glitches or long term destruction to Earth-circling satellites that are exposed to energetic particles as they fly through the region. Some satellite operators must routine shut down their equipment to avoid significant data loss or even permanent damage to key components. The International Space Station is well protected, and astronauts are safe from harm while inside, according to NASA. The region has known to cause "blips" on reset power boards on the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation mission, or GEDI.
"These particles are intimately associated with the magnetic field, which guides their motions", said Shri Kanekal, a researcher in the Heliospheric Physics Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Earth's magnetic field is somewhat similar to a bar magnet, with north and south posts that speak to restricting magnetic polarities.
"The observed SAA can be also interpreted as a outcome of weakening dominance of the dipole field in the region", according to geophysicist and mathematician Weijia Kuang at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The magnetic field is important for Earth's survival.
Currently, the SAA has shown no visible impact on daily life on earth but some recent observations and forecasts show that the region is expanding westward and continuing to weaken in its intensity, making NASA to study the phenomenon.
The solar material that gets trapped in the Earth's magnetosphere reside in two donut-shaped belts surrounding the planet called the Van Allen Belts, the innermost belt of which being 400 miles from the surface. The magnetic field partially shields the Earth from harmful charged particles emanating from the sun.
Since the Earth's magnetic fields actually originate from within the planet's outer core, keeping tabs on SAA can help scientists have a better understanding of the inner workings of the planet.
And missions like NASA's Parker Solar Probe and the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter are helping us to understand the solar wind streaming toward Earth. Since that is the thing that encourages us to make models and expectations. (Alternatively, it might go as a result of a weak stage and then improve again, as has transpired in the previous.) Ground zero for this weakening appears to be the South Atlantic Anomaly, an odd spot of unique weakness that stretches concerning South The us and Africa.