They discover what happens when the solar wind hits the Earth’s magnetic ‘bubble’


October 7, 2021 20:24 GMT

The discovery was made by a group of researchers led by Martin Archer, an astrophysicist at the British Imperial College in London.

The Earth, which is constantly exposed to the flow of charged particles from the solar wind (a stream of particles released by the Sun), Protected by a magnetic “bubble” called the magnetospherethat emerges from the depths of our planet’s interior.

Scientists have long assumed that when particles hit the magnetosphere, its edges produce a series of energy waves that should ripple in the direction of the solar wind, but some seem to do the opposite.

A group of researchers led by Martin Archer, an astrophysicist at Imperial College London, communication This Wednesday I found out that some of those waves were generated stay still.

In 2019, Archer and colleagues They came to the conclusion That edge of the magnetosphere, called the “magnetic stop,” behaves like a tympanic membrane. If struck by a pulse of the solar wind, the waves, called magnetospheres, propagate along the magnetosphere toward the poles, and are reflected back toward the source. Now, using data from NASA’s THEMIS mission, they’ve discovered that in addition to bouncing these magnetic waves, they can Do this by moving against the direction of the solar wind.

They can reach a dead end

According to the models presented by the researchers, the two forces can stop, as the thrust of the solar wind exceeds the strength of the wave. A lot of energy is used, but nothing progresses. “It’s similar to what happens if they try to go up an escalator“It’s going to look like they’re not moving at all, even if they’re trying really hard,” Archer explained.

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These standing waves can last longer than those traveling with the solar wind, which means they stay longer to accelerate particles into space near Earth, which in turn can cause effects in areas such as Our planet’s radiation belts, aurora, or ionosphereThe study says published In Nature Communications.

The researchers also revealed that standing waves can occur elsewhere in the universe, from the magnetospheres of other planets to the fringes of black holes.

Meanwhile, scholars also They translated Standing waves in the sound. “While in simulation we can see what’s going on everywhere, satellites can measure these waves where they only give us time series and wavy lines. In fact, this type of data is better suited to our sense of hearing than sight. So, listening to can give us The data is often a more intuitive idea of ​​what is going on,” Archer explained.

“You can hear the deep breathing sound of constant surface waves that persist at all times, increasing in volume with each beat produced. The loudest sounds associated with other types of waves, don’t last very long,” he concluded.

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