Massive particle accelerator discovered in near Earth radiation belt
Washington: NASA scientists have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, known as the Van Allen radiation belts.
The region is of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe.
New results from NASA`s Van Allen Probes show that the acceleration energy is in the belts themselves.
Local bumps of energy kick particles inside the belts to ever-faster speeds, much like a well-timed push on a moving swing.
Knowing the location of the acceleration within the radiation belts will help scientists improve predictions of space weather, which can be hazardous to satellites near Earth.
"Until the 1990s, we thought the Van Allen belts were pretty well-behaved and changed slowly," Geoff Reeves, lead author on the paper and a radiation belt scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M, said.
"With more and more measurements, however, we realized how quickly and unpredictably the radiation belts change. They are basically never in equilibrium, but in a constant state of change," he said.
In order for scientists to understand such changes better, the twin Van Allen Probes fly straight through this intense area of space.
One of the top priorities for the mission, launched in August, is to understand how particles in the belts are accelerated to ultra-high energies.
The findings are published in the journal Science.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Indian Army conducts surgical strikes across LoC: Watch DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh's PC
- Indian Army targets terror camps across LoC; Pak PM Sharif condemns
- 7 terror camps destroyed by Indian Army in surgical strikes
- Indian Army surgical strike: Pak rejects claim, says 2 soldiers killed
- DNA: Indian Army carries out surgical strikes across LoC
- What is surgical strike and how it is conducted - MUST KNOW for every Indian
- SALUTE! Brave Indian army commandos give befitting reply to Pak-sponsored terrorists
- Surgical strikes across LoC in Pakistan were filmed, videos kept as proof
- US NSA Susan Rice calls Ajit Doval, says 'expect Pakistan to take action against terror’
- Did Arvind Kejriwal tweet in favour of Pakistan over Uri attacks? Here is what Twitter says