Magnetic Explosions Discovered on Earth’s Doorstep

Posted: January 16, 2020 by oldbrew in satellites, solar system dynamics

Earth-orbiting satellites beware!

Jan. 16, 2019: Yes, there are explosions in Earth’s magnetic field. They happen all the time. Gusts of solar wind press against Earth’s magnetosphere, squeezing lines of magnetic force together. The lines criss-cross and reconnect, literally exploding and propelling high energy particles toward Earth.  Auroras are the afterglow of this process.

On Dec. 20, 2015, one such explosion occurred closer to Earth than anyone had seen before.  It has taken researchers 4 years to fully wrap their minds around what happened, and the results were published just this week in the Jan. 13, 2020, edition of Nature Physics.

Joseph-Bradley-_MG_8407_1450760666 Auroras in the aftermath of a near-Earth magnetic explosion on Dec. 20, 2015. Credit: Joseph Bradley of Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Lead author Vassilis Angelopoulos of UCLA explains: “Usually, these explosions happen at least 100,000 miles from Earth, far downstream in our planet’s magnetic tail. On Dec. 20, 2015, however, we observed…

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  1. Curious George says:

    2015? What a pity we can’t blame this on Trump.

  2. […] über Magnetic Explosions Discovered on Earth’s Doorstep — Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  3. JB says:

    I guess the explosion is just as imaginary are criss-crossed “lines of force.”

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Is it really an explosion if it happens in a vacuum?

    Seems more like a geographically large particle accelerator working on a highly diffuse body of subatomic particles in a vacuum. Seems hyperbolic to call that an explosion…

  5. pochas94 says:

    When a positive polarity flux tube crosses a negative polarity flux tube they annihilate. We’ve known that since Ghost Busters.

  6. stpaulchuck says:

    in ham radio there’s a phenomena called ‘sporadic E’ where higher frequencies bounce off the E layer of the ionosphere for short periods of time enabling very long distance communications in the VHF band. I wonder if this is what causes it.

  7. gallopingcamel says:

    These disturbances are tiny compared to the 1859 “Carrington Event” that lasted two days.

    Something of that magnitude would have a catastrophic effect on the electrical grids in large countries such as Canada, Russia, China, the USA and Brazil. It could take several years to restore our “Grids”.