After the Cold War, new radiation belts appeared around the Earth

NASA discovered “artificial” radiation fields around the Earth, and in many respects their appearance is connected with the “cold war” between the USA and the USSR, or more precisely – with the nuclear tests of both countries. Although the conflict (fortunately) has long since ended, recently declassified information suggests that the release of nuclear energy could affect the space weather in a way that none of the scientists expected.

What is Van Allen’s belt?

Our planet is naturally surrounded by Van Allen radiation belts – zones of highly charged particles that are held by the Earth’s magnetic field. But the energy of nuclear explosions created in the atmosphere separate regions that caused geomagnetic disturbances and even led to the appearance of their own radiation belts. Now these belts are visible even from space ships in the upper atmosphere, such as, for example, NASA probes.

The appearance of belts and fluctuations in cosmic weather led to “serious damage to several satellites” that rotated around the Earth at a rather low altitude, and also caused a flurry of geomagnetic storms over Sweden and Arizona.

What’s next?

In addition to nuclear tests, the formation of fields was a certain type of connection at very low frequencies – VLF radio communication, whose waves interact with particles in space, influencing how and where they move.

Already plans are underway to test VLF transmissions in the upper atmosphere to learn how to change them in space weather, and to find out how solar energy affects the Earth, NASA reports.